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MARTH - Medieval Hand-raised Meat Pies

Updated: Jan 16


Complexity: ★★★☆☆



Coming up with a recipe for Marth had me stumped for quite a while - but I knew I wanted to make a recipe inspired by medieval cooking, given the European fantasy setting of the Fire Emblem series. One common food eaten in medieval Europe was the meat pie: they are simple and rustic and perfect for capturing that medieval fantasy aesthetic! I thought smaller handpies would be fitting for the wartime setting of Fire Emblem: they are small and portable, hardy, and nourishing, making them the perfect rations for knights on the battlefield!


One thing I learned in my research is that the Fire Emblem series sometimes draws from classical Greek and Roman mythology! The names of places and characters are sometimes more Roman-sounding than European, including Marth himself, whose name derives from the Roman god of war, Mars. For this reason, these meat pies are also inspired by ancient Greek and Roman cuisine: I included a number of staple foods of classical antiquity such as barley, figs, apricots, and feta cheese. And for the meat itself, I went with a trio of pork, beef, and lamb. Not only does this enrich the overall flavour of the pies, but its a direct reference to Marth's namesake, the Roman god Mars: the Romans had a special type of animal sacrifice dedicated to Mars called the suovetaurilia, a triple offering of a pig, sheep, and cow! Including three types of meat in the filling also helps elevates this dish above mere peasant food, perfect for the princely Marth.


 

INGREDIENTS

Pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp salt

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 tbsp milk

  • 1 cup lard or unsalted butter

  • 1 beaten egg

Filling:

  • ¼ lb ground pork

  • ¼ lb ground beef

  • ¼ lb ground lamb

  • ½ cup oats or barley

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed

  • 1 apple, peeled and cubed

  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

  • ¼ cup dried figs, coarsely chopped

  • ¼ cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

  • ¼ cup dried currants or raisins

  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small knob ginger, minced

  • The zest of 1 orange

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tsp fennel seeds

  • 1 tsp rosemary

  • 1 tsp savory

  • 1 tsp sage

  • 1 tsp mustard powder

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • ½ tsp allspice

  • ½ tsp nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp cloves

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • Salt and pepper


PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.

  2. Sift together flour and salt in a bowl. In a medium saucepan, melt lard/butter into water and milk. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and mix in flour.

  3. Stir until mixture forms a ball of dough. Knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until soft and pliable. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  4. Meanwhile, mix pork, beef, and lamb in a large bowl. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add oats, chopped onion, potato, apple, feta, figs, apricots, currants, garlic, ginger, orange zest, soy sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, and the spices. Mix until thoroughly combined.

  5. Add heaping spoonfuls of the mixture into the prepared pie crusts* and top with a "lid" of more pastry. Poke holes or cut slits in the top with a knife, and brush the top with a beaten egg.

  6. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until an internal temperature of at least 160° is reached. Serve hot or cold.

TOP TIER TIPS:

  • *There are a number of ways to form the pie shells: either press dough into the bottom and edges of a muffin tray, or use miniature tinfoil tart trays. Or, for a more rustic look, form them by hand!

  • If you are going to form them by hand, it might help to place the shells in the fridge or freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up before filling them.

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