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A bridie is a type of savory, meat-filled pastry that was originally sold in Forfar, Scotland. The pastry also is known as a Forfar bridie after the town of origin. The basic recipe for a bridie involves placing a mixture of diced meat and sometimes onions or spices into a piece of pastry, either flaky pastry or shortcrust pastry dough. The dough is folded over the filling to form a half-circle shape and the edges are sealed, after which it is baked in an oven until done. Despite the fairly simple, traditional recipe, many variations have appeared — mostly outside the Forfar region — including elaborate fillings that include mushrooms and wine.
The authentic recipe for a bridie includes the use of beef suet. It is used to cook the meat before it is placed in the pastry, and it also is incorporated into the pastry crust. Beef suet is the fat from a cow, usually from the area near the kidneys. The ingredient has a very strong flavor that some find disagreeable, so substitutions are frequently used. The suet can be easily replaced with butter, margarine or lard.
The meat used in a bridie is most often beef that has been very finely diced or ground. Nearly any cut can be used, although the preparation might have to be performed differently for tough cuts. Some recipes call for the meat to be cooked in a pan, in suet or another fat, until it is browned and almost completely cooked. Other recipes just put the raw meat directly into the pastry and allow it to cook in the oven, although this method must be closely monitored to ensure the pastry does not burn before the meat is cooked. Beef stock can be added to the meat to make sure it does not dry out while cooking.
Onions are a common addition to the filling for a bridie. They can be cooked beforehand in a pan, or they can just be placed inside with the meat. Spices such as salt, pepper and especially thyme are common in many recipes. More elaborate preparations involve actually cooking onions, mushrooms and spices in wine and reducing the mixture before combining it with the raw meat and wrapping it.
The authentic recipes for a bridie use circles of pastry with the filling placed in the center, after which the pastry is folded to create a half moon shape. Less formal versions can use squares of the dough that make triangles when folded. The actual size of the pastry can vary from small — about the size of the palm of a hand — to as large as half a dinner plate. They are completed by being baked in an oven until the pastry is crisp and the beef is cooked.
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