We’ve been having some lovely sunny autumnal days, but the mornings and evenings are getting more relaxed, and I don’t know if it’s that or if I’ve felt tired this week, but I fancied some comfort food, and only one thing would do – meat and sweet potato pie.
The dinners of my childhood years tended to be made up of meat with vegetables and potatoes and then fish on a Friday. Occasionally they would include some form of pie, be it Shepherd’s pie with the classic mashed potato topping or meat and sweet potato pie with a pastry crust. Those were my favourite dinners, and I’ve been reminiscing recently about that sort of comfort food. They may not have been fancy dinners, but they were tasty and balanced, and in my house there was never much waste.
As much as I love pastry (though being a Northerner and all, it’s a given), the older you get, the less likely it is to agree with you. Whether it’s the gluten or the fat content, this does not help if you have stomach acid issues or IBS. The good thing is, a gluten-free pastry doesn’t seem to be as heavy on the stomach or leave you with that heartburn feeling. That’s what I’ve found anyway.
Gluten and Dairy-Free Meat and Sweet Potato Pie
I made this lovely meat and potato pie the other day, and it went down very well with the family, so I thought I would share it with you. This pie has gluten and dairy-free pastry, and the filling is gluten, dairy, and nightshade-free. As it stands, it is a tasty pie, but if you don’t need to eliminate any of those things, I’m going to give options at the end for what you can add as an alternative. When I cook, I have to adapt my recipes to make them suitable for all the family. Whilst I spend time converting them to be free from this and that, you can just as quickly ‘un convert’ them for your own needs.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe, and it evokes some childhood memories of your own. Food can do that, which is what I love about it. Ask me any memory, and you can guarantee it will include some anecdote or other about food. When it comes to meat and potato pie, I’m instantly taken back to days spent with my nanna and granddad during school holidays, sitting in their tiny kitchen, with the oven door kept slightly ajar for extra warmth.
- If you want to make this recipe more FODMAP friendly – add a stick of celery instead of the onion.
- If you don’t have an issue with nightshades – feel free to use an ordinary white potato instead of sweet potato.
- If you don’t have a problem with gluten – add one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and one tablespoon of plain flour instead of the nutritional yeast.
- You can use plain flour instead of the gram, sorghum and tapioca starch mix when making your pastry (in the same total amount).
- You can also use butter instead of margarine for making the pastry, or half butter, half-animal or vegetable shortening.
Meat and Sweet Potato Pie
- 1 large deep pie dish (at least 20 x 20cm and 6cm deep)
- 1 small red onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 pound ground beef (minced beef)
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- ⅔ cup margarine - dairy-free
- 5 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 200/gas 6/fan 180
- Make the pastry first: Mix the gram flour, sorghum flour and tapioca starch, rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water and bring together to form a dough. Wrap in a large piece of clingfilm and put it in the fridge.
- Chop the onion, carrots and sweet potato into small chunks and dry fry for 5-10 minutes. Add the mince and continue to fry until it has browned.
- Add the nutritional yeast and marmite and stir into the mixture before adding the ⅔ cup of water.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes (occasionally stirring, so it doesn’t stick) until the vegetables are softened and most water has been absorbed into the mixture.
- Whilst the vegetables and meat are cooking, roll out the pastry: Take two thirds and put the other third back in the fridge.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: gluten-free pastry is very ‘short’, which means it will easily crumble. The best and easiest way to handle it is to roll out between a folded over sheet of clingfilm to stick to either the work surface or the rolling pin.
- Flatten your large piece of clingfilm on your work surface and put the dough roughly in the middle, folding the other half over the top of the dough. Now roll out, occasionally measuring against your pie dish. When big enough, peel back the top side of the clingfilm and lift the rolled out pastry, carefully inverting it into the greased pie dish. Once placed in the dish, peel back the bottom layer of cling film, and you can cut away any of the sides if they are too long.
- Don’t worry if your pastry doesn’t quite fit. Use your fingers to stretch it out and add extra pieces if it’s too short. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Once the mince and vegetables are cooked, and water has been mostly absorbed into the mixture, add it to the pastry case.
- Roll out the rest of the pastry in the clingfilm like before and place it on top of the mince and vegetable mixture to close your pie. Use your thumbs to press the lid of the pastry together with the edges of the case. Pierce with a fork several times and brush with a little dairy-free milk.
- Put the pie in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. By then, the pastry should be nice and browned.