Come on Aussie come on come on, come on Aussie come on.
As the opening ceremony of The Games is lest than 24 hours away a tribute to an Aussie favourite is in order – the humble meat pie.
This was my first attempt at pies and oh my goodness was it worth the effort. The combination of buttery, flaky pastry and hearty, tender beef is worth of a gold medal.
Making the filling takes a bit of time and effort so I’d recommend doing it a day ahead then when you’re ready, just whip up the pastry and hour before and you’ll be eating pies in time to see an Aussie win a medal.
My recipe came from a Friday Masterclass by Gary Mehigan on Masterchef a few weeks ago. While it was absolutely delicious I found that the proportions were way off. The recipe said 1.5kg of beef and is supposed to make 6 pies. I used 1kg and made 8 pies (that’s all I could get out of the pastry) and had enough meat filing left over to make another 12.
I can’t even work it out to give you a definite number but if you only use 1kg of meat you’ll need to make 3 lots of pastry and it should make 20 pies. I have frozen the leftovers so we can have celebratory pies every time someone wins.
These would also make really cute party pies.
You will need to set aside at least an hour of time at the stove and then the pot is in the oven for 2.5 hours.
Heat 40ml of the oil in a large casserole dish that has a lid and can go in the oven.
Add the onions, garlic and thyme and cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn transparent. It takes about 40 minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the bay leaves. Cook the onions, stirring to keep them from burning, until they brown and caramelise. The recipe calls for fresh bay leaves. I didn’t have any so I used dried instead.
Add the flour to the pot and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until all the flour has been cooked out. You don’t want it to be floury.
I’m not sure what you are meant to do with it at this stage but I turned off the heat while I prepared the beef.
Heat the rest of the oil in a large frying pan, season the beef well with salt and ground white pepper and then add half the beef. Cook it until it is browned all over then put it on a plate while you brown the rest of the meat.
Put all the meat back into the pot and then add the carrots and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
Pour in 3/4 of the Guinness and cook for another 5 minutes.
Pour the contents of the pot on top of the onions.
Use the rest of the Guinness to de-glaze the beef pan. There wasn’t much left in my non-stick pan but I did this step anyway.
Turn the heat on again and pour in enough beef stock to cover the meat and veges then bring the pot to the boil.
I couldn’t help taking a photo of the little smiley face the bubbles made. Once the pot is boiling, put on the lid and transfer it to the oven. Cook it at 180C fan-forced for 2-2.5 hours or until the beef is tender. I cooked mine for 2 hours 20 minutes.
Once the meat is cooked you’re meant to chop it up into little chunks. I took the easier route and shredded it with two forks once it had cooled a little.
When it gets to room temperature, put the pot in the fridge to chill.
Now it’s pastry making time. This pastry is super easy and resulted in such a flaky, soft and buttery texture.
You can do this in a food processor or mixer. I used my mixer. Put the flour and butter into the mixer and beat it until it has the consistency of damp sand or breadcrumbs.
Then gradually add the sour cream until the dough just comes together.
Tip it out of the bowl onto a big piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a disc. Wrap it up and then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Lightly flour the bench, or in my case, my silicon baking mat and then roll out the pastry to about 4mm thick. Hunt around your kitchen for something round that’s 4cm bigger than your muffin tray.
As I write this I remembered that I have a set of round cutters in varying sizes that would have made the job much easier!
Spray a muffin tray with oil and then press the bases into the holes so that the pastry extends up over the sides.
Fill the pastry up with filling.
Cut another circle for the top that’s 2cm bigger than the muffin tin hole. Brush the tops of the bases with a little bit of water and then place the tops on and pinch them to the bases.
I wanted a little love baked into my pies so cut two tiny hearts for the top of each pie. Brush them all generously with the beaten egg.
Slit a hole in the top of each one to let the steam escape while they’re baking.
Bake the pies at 180C fan-forced for 25 minutes or until they are golden.
This is how much filling I had left over after making 8 pies.
Leave the cooked pies to rest in the tin for 5 minutes.
Transfer them to a wire rack to cool a little bit before serving.
Serve the pies nice and warm with a blob of tomato sauce. That’s if you like tomato sauce of course. I’m not a fan so I enjoyed my pie on its own. Enjoy!
What about you? Will you be watching The Games? Which is your favourite sport to watch?
- 100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 5 onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 kg (2.2lbs) trimmed chuck steak, cut into 4cm pieces
- Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
- 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 200g (7oz) mushrooms, chopped roughly
- 440ml can Guinness
- 1L home-made beef stock
- 1 egg, beaten
- Tomato sauce, to serve
- 200g (7oz) chilled unsalted butter, chopped
- 250g (9oz) plain (AP) flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ cup sour cream
- Pour 40ml of oil into a large cast-iron casserole dish that has a lid and can go in the oven.
- Heat it over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and thyme. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the bay leaves then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion browns and caramelises.
- Tip the flour into the pot and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until the flour is cooked into the onions.
- Turn off the heat.
- Heat the rest of the oil in a large frying pan.
- Generously season the beef with salt and white pepper and put half of it in the pan.
- Cook it until it is sealed on all sides and then remove to a plate while you seal the other half of the beef.
- Return it all to the pan along with the carrots and mushrooms and cook, stirring for five minutes.
- Add 3/4 of the Guinness to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Tip the contents of the pan into the onion pot.
- Place the pan used to cook the meat back over the heat and pour in the rest of the Guinness and de-glaze the pan.
- Pour that mixture in with the beef.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan-forced.
- Pour enough stock over the top to cover the meat and vegetables and bring the pot to the boil.
- Put the lid on the pot and then put it in the oven.
- Cook the meat for 2-2.5 hours or until it is tender.
- When the meat is cooked, set the pan aside to cool.
- Remove the meat and veges from the pot and chop into little pieces then return them to the pot. Alternatively, shred the meat with a fork.
- Refrigerate the mixture until cold.
- Meanwhile make the pastry.
- Place the butter and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until it has the consistency of fine bread crumbs.
- Gradually add the sour cream and beat just until it all comes together.
- Lay a big piece of plastic wrap on the bench and tip the dough out onto it.
- Use your hands to shape it into a disc, wrap it up and then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C(356F) fan-forced.
- Spray a large muffin tin with oil.
- Flour the work surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 4mm thickness.
- Cut out rounds 4cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie bases and 2cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie lids.
- Press the bases into the tin so that the pastry extends a little over the sides.
- Fill the base with meat filling.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with water and then place the top pastry on. Press the lid and base together.
- Brush the top of the pies with the beaten egg and cut a slit in the top of each one to let the steam escape.
- Bake the pies for 25 minutes or until golden.
- Leave the finished pies in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack cool slightly before serving.
- Meanwhile, to make the sour cream pastry, place the butter and flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle or food processor, then blend until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Gradually add the sour cream, mixing until the pastry just comes together. Shape into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap then chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Grease 6 holes of a muffin pan with a little olive oil. Roll out the pastry to 3-5mm thick, using a little extra flour for dusting. Cut out six rounds about 4cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie bases and six rounds 2cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie lids. Place a pie base in each hole, then press in in lightly with your fingers, and draw the pastry up the mould a little so the pastry is 1cm above the mould. Fill each hole with some of the beef mixture, brush edges with water, then top each with a pastry lid and crimp the edges to seal in the filling.
- Brush the pastry tops with beaten egg, cut a small hole in the centre of each pie for steam to escape. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Turn out and serve with tomato sauce, if desired.