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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

23 Oct

“His legs were stretched wide apart, and betwixt his knees he held a great pasty compounded of juicy meats of divers kinds made savory with tender young onions, both meat and onions being mingled with a good rich gravy. In his right fist he held a great piece of brown crust at which he munched sturdily, and every now and then he thrust his left hand into the pie and drew it forth full of meat; anon he would take a mighty pull at a great bottle of Malmsey that lay beside him.

“By my faith,” quoth Robin to himself, “I do verily believe that this is the merriest feast, the merriest wight, the merriest place, and the merriest sight in all merry England. Methought there was another here, but it must have been this holy man talking to himself.”         

                                                              – Robin Hood Seeks the Curtal Friar

Meat, tender onions, thick gravy and flakey pie crust – there’s not much better on a rainy day to make one merry. In this dish, you’ll make your gravy from beef stock and thicken it with a bit of flour. Do not purchase premade gravy; gravy out of a can or jar has no place in polite society.

“Meats of drivers kinds” simply refers to a pie made with different (multiple) types of meats. You can use whatever meats tickle your fancy. I wanted to use a combination of beef and venison, but was unable to locate any venison. I thought about using bison as I think bison would provide an interesting flavor; even if it’s terribly unlikely that you would run into a bison in Sherwood Forest. So, the choice is yours.

Malmsey is a sweet Madeira wine. I opted not to take mighty pulls at a great bottle of Malmsey as very sweet wines are one of the very, very few food or drink items I just can’t abide. I stuck with a bold red wine instead, which seemed to be within the general spirit, and which I doubt our friend the Friar would have turned his nose up at.

So, go steal from the rich and give to the poor (disclaimer: don’t steal from anyone, please – but the social responsibility bit is still good!) and get your merry on with some meat pie and brown bread.

Friar John’s meat pie:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pie crusts (premade is fine if baking isn’t your forte)
  • 1 lb. of meat
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can beef stock
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your meat into roughly bite size pieces, and chop onion.
  3. Heat a deep skillet/dutch oven over medium heat, and cost pan with olive oil.
  4. Coat your meat in the flour, and when the pan is hot, add them eat to the pan. Brown meat on each side, then add onions and turn heat down to a medium-low as not to burn the onions.
  5. Cook onions until translucent, then add in your beef stock. Stir to combine and let simmer for several minutes to start to thicken sauce a bit.
  6. Place 1 pie crust into a pie pan, pour in your meat/onion/gravy mixture, and cover with second pie crust. Pinch crust edges closed and make a couple of small slits on the top of the crust to act as air vents for your pie.
  7. Bake pie for approximately 1 hour, or until your crust is brown and delicious looking!

Irish Brown Bread:

Yield: 1 loaf

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • .5 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons cold butter
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
  • Milk (might need, might not)

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until mixture forms crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.
  3. Add yogurt, stir to combine. If mixture is too dry to hold together, add in milk (about a tablespoon at a time), just until the mixture holds together. You don’t want sticky dough.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead gently about 5 times to make a ball. Set ball on a lightly greased baking sheet and pat to form a nice loaf. Cut an X into the top of the loaf with a floured knife.
  5. Bake until well browned; about 45 minutes. Serve warm or room temp.