Saturday, 2 August 2014

Puff Pastry Scotch Pies, Chips and Beans in Homemade Tomato Sauce

All homemade - pies, chips and beans in tomato sauce

My previous post saw me preparing a pretty different version of Scotch pies, using puff pastry instead of hot water pastry and incorporating tatties and neeps (potatoes and Swede turnip/rutabaga) in the filling along with the lamb. I thought I would here give a serving suggestion for the pies, based on the basic but classic Scottish dish that is pie, chips and beans.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, however, I had to look at healthier options, particularly when it comes to the beans. Baked beans in tomato sauce are hugely popular in the United Kingdom but although we do get some benefits (especially fibre) from the beans, those benefits are usually negated to some extent by the excess salt and sugar in the sauce. I hope you like this idea (which as always can be varied to suit tastes) and will give it a try.

Chipped potatoes are firstly steeped in cold water

The recipe and instructions here relate entirely to the chips and beans. As mentioned above, the pies recipe can be found in the previous post on this blog.

Ingredients (Serves Two)

4 homemade puff pastry Scotch pies
3 medium to large floury/starchy potatoes, or as required
1 small (8 ounce) can/tin of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
Generous pinch dried basil
Generous dried oregano
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed or grated
Salt and pepper
Good splash of Tabasco sauce (optional - be careful, as it's hot!)
1 large (14 ounce) can/tin haricot beans in water

Parboiled chipped potatoes are drained through a colander


The chips can be prepared any way you wish but I've long since used the Heston Blumenthal method of once parboiled and twice deep fried, with two refrigeration periods in between. Sound like a lot of work? It's not really, though it is time consuming - but I honestly believe the end results are more than worth the effort.

Parboiled chipped potatoes are ready for the fridge

The first step is to peel the potatoes, slice them and chop them in to chip shapes. They should then be steeped in cold water for about ten to fifteen minutes to get rid of the excess starch. Drain them and put them in to a pot with plenty of fresh cold water and some salt. Bring the water to a simmer for about ten minutes. Drain the potatoes through a colander, add them to a plastic dish and let them steam off for about five minutes. Put them in the fridge for a minimum half hour to dry out.

Homemade chips are given their first fry

Take the chilled chipped potatoes from the fridge and deep fry them in moderately hot oil for about three or four minutes. I deep fry in a deep frying pan so judging the temperature is not easy - I've come to know my own pan. If using a deep fryer, go for a setting of 150C/300F.

Once fried chips are drained on kitchen paper

Drain the once fried chips on kitchen paper. They should be only slightly coloured and still "soggy" - yes, soggy! Remember, they're not ready for eating yet, this is only step two of three. Let them cool for a few minutes then put them back in to the fridge in the same (dried) dish as before for a further minimum half hour.

Ingredients for homemade beans in tomato sauce

Yes, I've been a bit adventurous with the beans in tomato sauce recipe but why not? Baked beans in tomato sauce is by no means a Scottish creation, however popular it may be in Scotland, so I have utilised culinary licence and used what I thought would make them super tasty in this homemade substitute for the canned variety. If you want to omit/substitute any of these ingredients, you can of course do so.

Note that haricot (pronounced ari-coh - the "h" and "t" both being silent) beans genuinely are the beans used in your brand name favourites. You can buy them dried and steep them overnight but I bought them canned in water. Similarly, you could use fresh tomatoes rather than tinned. Both options are great but they will add significantly to your preparation/cooking times.

Seasonings and spices are added to tinned tomatoes

Pour the tomatoes in to a pot. Add the basil, oregano, grated/crushed garlic and salt and pepper. Stir well, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer as gently as possible for fifteen minutes, giving the mixture an occasional stir.

Warning! - for some reason, simmering once canned tomatoes have a really annoying tendency to sputter, making a mess of your hob/stove top. The way I get round this is by lifting the pot off the heat and holding it over the sink as I give the occasional stir. Really saves on cleaning up time - which is one of my top priorities when cooking!

Cooked down tomatoes and seasonings

Open the can of haricot beans and pour the contents in to a colander in your sink. Run cold water in and rinse well. This gets rid of most of the preservatives/salt/gunge and whatever else may be in there. Shake your colander well from side to side to drain as thoroughly as possible.
Tinned haricot beans are washed thoroughly under running cold water

Pour the rinsed haricot beans in to your simmering tomato sauce.

Haricot beans are added to homemade tomato sauce

Carefully - so as not to damage the beans - stir/fold them through the sauce. Bring back to a simmer just for two or three minutes to make sure the beans are fully heated through.

Haricot beans are stirred through homemade tomato sauce

The second fry for the chips has to be in hotter oil. You're talking about 170C/350F for around five minutes. Again, drain on kitchen paper on a plate before seasoning with salt and malt vinegar.

Twice fried chips are drained before being plated

Plate your pies, with your chips alongside.

Homemade Scotch pies and chips

I remember once being in an argument in a pub regarding whether beans should go on top of pies or be plated alongside. Honestly! Yes, OK, a few beers had been drunk beforehand but the bottom line is that it's up to you. Plate your beans in tomato sauce alongside your pies, or over your pies, and tuck in immediately.

Tucking in to all homemade Scotch pies, chips and beans

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