I spotted a tweet by someone who had received a box of some new Pieminister goodies and contacted them to see if we could have a box too - they said yes!
It turns out that the new products are not so much pies as the bits inside a pie in a pot - Pie Pots! Realistically they have a few tweaks that i'll get to, but as a concept it should work quite well. Even better than this it only takes 4 mins in the microwave to cook - which means I can eat these at work! I took the first one on the very day I received them in the post. We've recently suffered from a massive downsizing of the available catering at our hospital so decent hot filling lunches require planning and a trek to find. Bringing your own in is becoming an increasingly appealing idea.
I ate the first half during a presentation (in the dark!) but after we escaped I still had some of the Matador pot left. The most noticeable difference is that there is potato in here instead of pastry around the outside - a LOT of potato. Luckily they soak up the sauce and have a lovely flavour. Also they cook really well in the microwave unlike pastry. In typical Pieminister fashion everything is large and distinct from the potatoes and meat down to the beans. This was a spot on lunch, spicy enough to be interesting but easily eatable, and with a variety of textures and tastes floating around. I'd rather have the equivalent pie but I can't do that at work.
The following day I varied things up by going for the Chicken version. Essentially this is cock-a-leekie but with potatoes and again huge chunks of ingredient. The flavour was much milder than the Spanish themed pie, but still nice. There was probably more chicken in here than steak and chorizo in the other pie, but it was still mostly potato.
I'm not sure whether I preferred this to the first one or not. They are very different takes on the same idea. Again - I'd rather have the pie, but that's not going to happen.
My third pot was the Moo & Brew which is the steak and ale version of the pots.
Kind of somewhere between the two above pies as it's sauce based but not spicy - more of a gravy and similar to the Moo pie (that again I'd have rather had). There was more steak here than the first one. And again the mix and ingredients were lovely. This was my least favourite of the three, but still a great lunch and when I reordered these from Ocado for this week I still added one of each.
The final pot was eaten by my partner. She is a vegetarian - and the Meany Bean was suitable for vegetarians so I thought it only fair that she had a quality lunch too. In all pots the potato still has the skins on too which I'm not usually that keen on, but here it works. My partner prefers potato this way so she was happy with this too. She suggested it was very tasty, and filling enough to reduce snacking in the afternoon and to want more. I ordered three of these so I could try one and she could have a couple.
And we even used the strong refrigerated box to build a fort for our new kitten!
While pies are not suitable for kittens the padded box they came in was perfect for hiding from the bigger cats after she's spent a while terrorising them.
My main problem with the pie pots (apart from the fact that they are really stew pots and not pie related) was that I thought they may be too costly for lunch every day - but Ocado has them on two for £6 at the moment and £3 a day is very comparable to buying food at work and cheaper than the meal deals in the shop.
While I won't have them every day, in the winter it's certainly a nice surprise of a range and something that I plan on having often.