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Bully Beef Pie

You know how sometimes you have leftovers and you can’t decide what to do with the leftovers because you have had enough already, and no one else will dare say what to do with the food because somebody may feel bad about it, well this is a situation that falls somewhere between that feeling and reality…just bear with me a little.

Back in the early seventies when I worked at a textile factory as a factory mechanic, I developed a good friendship with man from my little village in Spanish Town name Norman Downey. Norman brought some of the tastiest leftovers to work each day. And, of course, the aroma made everybody question him about his mouthwatering food. His not wanting to let the rest of the crew to know that the food that he brought in was leftovers, did not answer too many questions when asked.

Back then it was not the done thing to eat leftovers during the week… it signifies that you are not close to your kitchen. However, he told me that the best food is leftovers and the only way you can really get the taste out of the food is to let it sit overnight…that is a minor cultural taboo in Jamaica. The idea of your food getting cold or stale before eating it is not very well relished among the people with whom I grew up…go figure.

Anyhow, he gave me a recipe to make bully beef pie from leftover canned corned beef…the ‘filet mignon’ for the Jamaican working class. How do you get leftover bully beef ? Cook it and let it sit, or use the rest that’s left in the ‘dutch pot’ from last night’s dinner. Another thing about bully beef, it can be cooked up with macaroni, broad beans, green peas, red beans, and many more beans that you can imagine. If you care to do a variation Norman’s bully beef pie, go right ahead, but please tell me about it.

Norman’s bully beef pie:

8 Potatoes (peeled and diced)

1 can Corned Beef

1 Egg

1 cup Milk or Powdered Milk ( optional)

1 Large Onion (finely chopped)

½ Green Bell Peppers (finely chopped)

3 tbsp. Tomato Ketchup

1 tsp. Black Pepper

4 oz. Butter

1 sprig Thyme

2 tbsp. Cooking Oil

Boil potatoes until soft, remove potatoes from the pot and mash in a bowl with some of the milk, butter, and egg. You’re essentially making mash potatoes but you do not want to make it too soft so use the milk sparingly. That means make stiff mash potato. Meanwhile sauté the onions and green bell peppers on medium high heat.

Wait one minute and then cover the pot and let the onions and green peppers cook for another three minutes. Add the canned corned beef and black pepper. You will have to use a fork to separate the bully beef. Fold in the bully beef into the seasonings fully and then add the tomato ketchup and thyme.

In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Alright, use the rest of the butter to grease a baking pan and add half of the mashed potato to the baking pan. Use a wooden spoon to smooth off the top of the mashed potato, half way in the baking pan. Scoop out some of the potato as though to make a bowl in the center.

Turn off the fire under the bully beef and drain the oil from the meat into a bowl. Add the meat to the baking pan into the center of the mashed potato. Cover the rest of the meat in the baking pan with the remaining potato and smooth off the top.

Put the pie in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is brown. You may add Jamaican cheddar cheese as a topping as soon as you remove the pie from the stove.

Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

Yah Mon!

Uncle Zack




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