Sometimes you just run out of food. That is to say that sometimes my household runs out of compatible food. My partner had two fresh pies with short dates and I had no pies. Not being a fan of the veggie delights on offer (cheese!) I resorted to visiting the local shop to see what was on offer.
I picked up the below Frey Bentos Pie (alongside one cheaper, tiny pie to be frozen for emergencies) which is a pie in a giant steel tin.
I've never had these pies before because I'm not on a long distance sea voyage to discover the New World. I have no need for my food to be able to survive 100 days at sea, or a direct nuclear strike. To me the steel container is overkill. It took several attempts to remove but I managed to do it without hurting myself.
See that - that looks like rations! Although my first instinct was to move on to the other smaller pie and just have more chips, in the spirit of FoodStuffFinds I persevered anyway and decided to judge once it was all cooked.
That doesn't look too bad really. It has a definite curved top when it comes out of the oven and has risen enough to increase my confidence. I decide it's meant to be eaten out of the tin.
In this picture it's pretty much all gravy. This was very disappointing - where was all the meat!! Turns out that it was all on the other side of the pie, the contents had settled so much that it was one half solid meat and one half gravy. There was not a pastry bottom either so it may be a bit messy to share this. I still contend that a proper pie needs to be surrounded by pastry but for me the pastry tends to be the best bit.
The flavour wasn't too bad, the meat chunks were small and not that identifiable as chicken, but nowhere near the orphanage grade filling I was expecting upon opening. The pastry was good and flaky and complemented the rich gravy well. It was a decent meal due to its size more than it's content and I'd choose a Pieminister over this in a heartbeat, but at half the price and with a shelf-life longer than most stars I can see why they are popular.
I'm not sure if I'll try other flavours, Just Chicken was the only one in stock that I fancied. A worrying amount of pies contain organs (Liver/Kidney) or mushrooms which puts me off. I am so picky that I only go for the All Steak Pukka pie from their range though, so your options may be wider.
All in all a fairly middling experience. Big enough for 2 and reasonably priced, but there are so many full pastry pies on offer that I'd choose first.