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Whale Pie

20 oz Whale meat
One bay leaf
1 Stalk celery
6 Peppercorns
1 tb Salt
1/2 c Butter
1/2 c Flour
1 c Light cream
1/8 ts Pepper
1/4 ts Salt
One 1 pound can pearl onions
1 4 ounce can sliced mushrooms
1 pk Frozen peas
2 cn Pimentos, sliced 1
Box pastry mix

Cut the whale meat up, and place in a large kettle and cover with water (or use slow cooker). Add bay leaf, celery, peppercorns and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to boil, cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir until blended. Add light cream, pepper and salt. Cook stirring, until thickened.

Arrange whale meat pieces, onions, mushrooms, peas and pimentos in 2 quart casserole. Add sauce to within 1 inch of top.

Prepare the pastry mix. Cut pastry circle 1/2 inch larger than casserole and place over the whale-mixture, turning edge of pastry under and pressing to casserole with fork or spoon.

Bake in preheated 450 degree oven 15 min. or until crust is golden brown.

Serves 4 to 6 .

Some general comments about this recipe:

Bay Leaf: Bay leaf comes from the sweet bay or laurel tree and was always one of those things I thought wouldn't make much difference if I just left them out. Well, at least until I actually started using them. The leaves actually impart a distinct flavor to soups and stews. Usually, the recipe calls for a small number of leaves, so take the time to actually add this to your spice shelf. I store mine in a tightly capped mason jar. If you've run out of bay leaves, substitute 1/4 tsp. dried thyme for every bay leaf needed. Not quite the same taste, but close enough. Make sure you take the bay leaf out before you serve it.

Pearl Onion: A close relative of the leek. Cultivated mostly in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, usually in home gardens. Used mainly for pickling. Most pearl onions take up to two years to become sweet enough to sell so (in North America, at least), the pearl onions that you see in the supermarket are probably run-of-the-mill common onions that have been really closely planted together in the fields to produce a small onion. If you have the opportunity to purchase real pearl onions, then do so. If you don't have any pearl onions on hand, then I would suggest a coarsely chopped onion. Sweet onion, if you have it, if not, just a regular, boring onion.

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