big eats for the big day: scottish bridie meat pies

A certain big game promises to take up our Sunday afternoon and evening, and we'll all want a little something special to nosh upon.  Beefy, onion-y, Bridie pies, from Scotland, fill the bill.  Served with a dijon or whole grain mustard, and a hearty bottle of red, or perhaps a pint of Guinness, they more than hold their own against the ubiquitous wing.  And with a little help by the way of pre-packaged puff pastry, they're pretty easy to pull together.

But, first things first.

Because this day is a bigger day than the big day for the big game. And these pies, well they were baked with the express purpose of celebrating a fella that would appreciate a hearty snack and a 'pint o' Guinness'.

Please put your hands together, in applause or prayer, whichever way you're moved, and give a hearty congratulations to my father, Tom Perkins, Jr, who is, today, celebrating three quarters of a century on earth.

He is the block from which I'm chipped.

A force of nature both in word and deed, he will likely begin the day at his local Rotary Club, of which he's been a loyal member, chatting it up with well-wishers and basking in the glow of all manner of jokes of which he's, deservedly, (because it's time to get him back!) the butt.  He may spring for breakfast, afterwards, for a few buddies--he taught me to always spring for breakfast, so the other's will owe the more expensive lunch, or dinners, to you.  He's a regular at Jim's, and will be known well be all the other regulars, and staff.  They'll probably sing for him because it will likely be made known, maybe by a friend, but certainly by him, that he has reached the big 7-5.  And anyone who happens to be a first, or occasional-timer at Jim's this morning will know, too.

The Tom and Jerre Perkins Scholarship
Northwest Austin Rotary Club
Many people are told they are 'young for their age'.  My father is the Rip Van Winkle of them all.  I'm not sure if it's the razor-sharp wit, keen and acute intelligence, good genes, a joie de vivre, great friends, a glass of merlot, questionable jokes, extensive travel, a good wife, or, (it's probably) a fine daughter, but whatever it's working. The Energizer Bunny has nothing on Tom Perkins.

Dad, along with his wife, Jerre, will, sometime today, briskly walk the mall (or the block, or the trails, weather willing) giving a high and hearty wave, greeting, or retort to all whom he passes. They will attend one of the umpteenth fundraisers of the year this evening, and he will return, at 9pm, after his own daughter's bedtime, to a celebration by friends over cocktails and cupcakes.  I'll be there, after a strong cup of coffee, with my sister, who will bar tend, and will also need a strong cup of coffee.

It takes a few strong cups of coffee to keep up with my Dad.
Bridie Pies

In honor of Dad's big day, which happens, appropriately, to fall very close to the big game, big eats that are right up his alley...

4lb chuck shoulder roast, boneless
1 cup beef stock
2T ground mustard
3 sprigs fresh thyme
kosher salt, ground black pepper

1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry
2 eggs, beaten, with 2T water
4 onions, minced
1T whole mustard seed, optionally
1T suet, lard, bacon drippings, or butter, in a pinch
3 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

In a dutch oven, covered, roast chuck shoulder with stock, herbs and spices, in a 250 degree oven, until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.  Let rest, covered for 30 minutes, then remove thyme sprigs, spoon off visible fat, (reserving to fry onions) leaving meat juices behind, and shred roast with a fork.  It'll fall apart and you'll have to slap your own hand to keep it from snagging bites. I like to do this the night before.  I refrigerate it, then remove, bring back to a warm temperature after removing any large pieces of visible, hardened fat, prior to making pies.

Remove puff pastry from freezer to thaw for 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, pan fry minced onions, with thyme, in enough reserved fat, meat drippings, or butter to make 2Ts.  Onions should be clear, and most liquid should be cooked out of them, but not browned.

Combine onions with beef, in a 1:1 ration, if you like a pungent, onion-y flavor, which we do, or adjust to taste. Wrapped in pastry, the filling will be a bit milder than straight. With this in mind, correct seasonings, set aside to cool.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry sheets, one at a time, to a thickness of 1/8"-1/4".  Using a sharp edged cutter, plain or crimped, score 6" circles.  Collect pastry trimmings and roll out again, to nab a few extras (waste not, want not!).

Yes, those are the well-earned wrinkles of a cook's hand.  I have no shame.
In the top center of each circle, place a heaping tablespoon of filling. Brush the interior edges with egg wash, fold in half over the filling, evening the filling out under the pastry, and pinch edges together to seal. 

Fill, fold, pinch and seal.

When all pies have been filled, lay on a silicone spray or pad-lined baking sheet.  Brush tops with egg wash.  Vent with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.  

                I made a few with 'double onions' for my fella, so I marked those with a cross. 

Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bake in a 425 degree oven, turning pan halfway, for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve the little beauties with a hearty red wine or a pint of dark ale, and  your favorite mustard.  We even have a fresh batch of lovely whole grain mustards you may wish to try with these, or a myriad of other dishes that could use a little pungent spark.

Leftover filling?  Pop it in the freezer and meet us back here in a week for our series, Leftovers: The Second Time Around, with savory, golden-crusted comfort-filling, pot pies.

Learn more about the origin of Bridie Pies:

And last but not least, 

Happy Birthday, Dad!


  1. Thank you Chip! I could not have said it better! Love you, Dad

  2. These look wonderful. Happy B-Day to your dear Dad:) Sounds like a great man...who has a great daughter (who really knows how to cook!).

  3. @Dad--thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Now, about those pies....haha!
    @Steph, Thank you! And I thank for recognizing me as the great daughter I am! lol

  4. Happy Birthday to your dad! And enjoy the pies... they look absolutely divine!

  5. Thank you, Dawn! I'll pass on the well-wishes. He had a smashing birthday party that just about wore his daughter to a frazzle. lol


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