When I was a child, coming back from school, nothing would fill my heart with more “gourmet” joy than hearing this answer to my question:
“What’s for lunch, mom?”
“Pastel de carne”, my mom would say….
Mmmm! And I would rush to the toilet, to wash my hands…my mouth watering in anticipation for what was to come….
And the story finds an echo in generations to come, since this simple dish is my kids’ favorite, the three of them firmly claiming that nobody in this world makes this pie like mom…(I know it’s not true but I love to believe it!) and my daughter C asking me to write down this recipe, because if there is one thing she knows about her future is that she will feed her children with this treat !!! And I feel so foolishly proud !!!
The meringue on it is optional…but it adds a “deluxe” touch….obviously only for those who love a sweet touch in a beef dish…This is a very Argentinian thing..for instance we sprinkle our meat empanadas with sugar…but if you don’t like this, or if you are in a hurry…the pie will taste just as delicious without it!! or you can sprinkle some sugar on the pumkin purée….
So, here for you…a part of my family history! I hope you enjoy it !
For the recipe, see below
For this Beef and Pumpkin Pie, you will need:
* olive oil, 2 tablespoons * onions, 3, chopped * minced meat, 1 kilo * cumin, 1 teaspoon * pimenton dulce (sweet Spanish pimenton papikra), 2 teaspoons * tomato sauce, 300gr * green olives, optional * hard-boiled eggs, 3 * salt & pepper, to taste.
For the pumpkin purée: * pumpkin, 600gr * butter, 100gr *yolks, 2 * salt & pepper, to taste * ground cinnamon (optional), to taste
For the meringue: * egg whites, 2 * sugar (same weight as whites, aprox 60gr)
Sauté the onions, in olive oil, over medium-high heat, in a skillet. Add the mince meat, and cook for 4′, breaking up the meat with a fork. When it has barely lost its red colour, stir in the tomato sauce, season with salt, pepper, the cumin and the paprika. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10′. The meat must remain moist. Remove from heat.
In the meanwhile, bake the pumpkin in the oven (180°c) till it becomes tender. Remove core and seeds. Pass through a food mill. Combine well with the butter and yolks. Season to taste.
Pre-heat your oven (190°C) Put the meat in an oven dish (high enough for all the mixture, or a skillet that goes to the oven) Slice the hard-boiled eggs and accomodate on the meat. Spoon the pumpkin purée on the meat and level with an off-set spatula. Sprinkle with sugar (if you are not having the meringue) Bake for 30′ until the pumpkin goldens on top.
If you are having the meringue on top: mix egg whites and sugar on a steel bowl. Heat in a bain Marie until sugar dissolves. Beat until hard peaks are formed. Spoon the meringue on the purée. With a fork or spatula, make fancy peaks. Take to the oven in grill position. Bake until peaks become brown (just a few minutes)