Meat pies

The meat pie is considered an iconic dish of both Australia and New Zealand.  It turns out that there are a lot of dishes that the two countries share and pride themselves on. The meat pie resembles the steak pie from Britain and likely how the item was introduced to the area.

When I was in Australia,  I don’t remember having any meat pies, which I find odd for how wildly popular it is.  I of course ate crazy things like kangaroo, but I don’t remember the food being much different than things here in America. I was a lot younger when I traveled there and was not nearly as much into food and seeking cultural experiences as when I now travel.  As I learn more about the food, it is definitely a place that I need to go back to.

I get my travel bug from my mom, who is coming to visit. My mom has decided on a crazy retirement plan, which is to sell her house and live out of her car traveling cross-country. This trip I think is practice as she is going to be driving across the country to get to me.  I secretly hope it won’t be an awesome experience, so she will change her crazy retirement plan. Oh, I digress, back to Australia and cooking.

I found a miniature version of the meat pie. I think it will be a fun appetizer to try.

Make a meat mixture, ground beef, onions, tomatoes, seasonings.

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Make mashed potatoes.

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Then in pre-made phyllo dough cups, I layer the beef.

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Then top with mashed potatoes.

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Bake

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They are good.  The meat is a bit dry and the pre-made phyllo cup is a bit thick. However they hit the spot for dinner and I pop in 5 to make a meal.  It reminds me a lot of shepherds pie.

As I look back at the original recipe, this doesn’t look much like the other meat pie recipes that I have seen.  I’m not even sure how I came to this as an Australian meat pie recipe.  The recipe says chili beef pie.  With some free time I decided to cook a different recipe that looks much more authentic.

The first step is to create a very basic beef stew.

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The stew cooks for an hour,  then thickened with cornstarch.

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I cook for 10 more minutes and the stew is a bit moist still but thickens a bit.

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For the dough it calls for short crust, but I can’t find it in the store.  I know I can make it from scratch, but feel a bit lazy. As I read, it says that  shortcrust is used for tarts and pies.  So I figure, why not just use pie crust.  I cut 4 inch circles using a can of tomatoes.

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Then place the circle in the bottom of a muffin pan.  One pie crust makes about 6 pies.

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Then fill with the beef stew

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Traditionally these pies are served with ketchup.  I find a recpie that suggest putting a tomato on top instead.  I think that sounds a bit more elevated.  So I top half of my pies with a tomato and a little oregano.

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Next it is time to cut the puff pastry.  I cut these with a 3 inch cup.  This is my favorite cup.

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Then cover the pie with the puff pastry.  You need to try and seal the pie by pinching the two pieces of pie dough together.  I find it to be a bit messy, maybe there is too much gravy.

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Poke in some vents

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Brush on egg yolk

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Bake and out comes the mini meat pie!  So I am a bit unsuccessful on the two doughs sealing, but the meat isn’t spilling everywhere.

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It is yummy!  Way better than the first recpie.  It is reminiscent of a chicken pot pie.  The bottom crust is a bit soggy from the sauce, but the butteryness of the puff pastry is awesome with the richness of the stew. There is a subtle difference with the tomato vs the non tomato pie.  I found the stew to be juicy enough that I didn’t really want more sauce so I’d probably make this again with the tomato to get the extra flavor.  I am so glad I made the real thing!  This makes so much more sense to me why this is all the rage in Australia.


Recipes

Mini Chili Beef Pies

Original recipes can be found here

  • Phyllo dough cups
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 250g pack minced beef
  • 85g tomato purée
  • 150ml beef stock
  • large pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, split
  • 2 teaspoon salt, split
  • 2 yukon potatos, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • tablespoon butter
  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry onion for 5 mins until soft.
  2. Add spices; fry for 1 min. Stir in beef and cook for a few mins.
  3. Add tomato purée, stock, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Give it a stir, bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 mins until very little liquid is left.
  5. Check seasoning and cool.
  6. Cook the potato in boiling water until tender.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°
  8. Drain, mash with sour cream, butter, and remaining salt and pepper.
  9. Spoon 1-2 tsp of chili mix into the pre-made phyllo cup and top with a tsp of mash and place in baking pan.
  10. Ruffle mash with a fork
  11. Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until golden.


 

Mini Meat pies

Original Recipe can be found here

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2lb  chuck steak, cut into  2/5″ cubes (or other beef cut suitable for slow cooking)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 4 sheets frozen or refrigerated pie sheets ( do not get the one already formed to the pie pan), thaw if frozen
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (25cm x 25cm / 10″ x 10″), thawed (Note 1)
  • 8 tomatos, sliced ( 24 slices)
  • 1 tsp oreganeo
  1. Place 1 tbsp of oil in a large heavy based pot over high heat.  Add the beef and sear until the outside is lightly browned, around 5 minutes.  Remove from the pot into a bowl.
  2. Lower the heat to medium high and add the remaining olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent – around 8 minutes.
  3. Return the beef to the pot along with all other filling ingredients other than the cornstarch / cornflour and water.  Mix to combine.  The liquid should be just enough to cover most of the beef but there should be a bit protruding through the surface.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to low / medium low so it is bubbling very gently.  Leave to cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the beef is very tender.  Because the beef is cut so small, it shouldn’t take much longer than 1 hour.  If the liquid evaporates too quickly, just add a bit more water.
  5. When the beef is ready (or almost ready), mix the cornstarch / cornflour and water together then pour it into the pot.  Mix through and allow to cook for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Adjust salt to taste.
  6. Remove pot from the stove and set aside to cool.  The sauce will thicken more when it cools.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Spray holes of muffin tins.
  9. Cut the pastry base out of the short crust pastry using a 4″ round cutter.
  10. Press the rounds into the tins and fill to the brim with the filling.
  11. Cut the pie tops out of the puff pastry using a 3″ round cutter.
  12. Top with a tomato slice and a dash of oregano.
  13. Place the lids on top of the filling, gently pressing to try to join the top with the casing.
  14. Pierce the lids 3 or 4 times with a small knife.
  15. Brush with egg wash.
  16. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until dark golden brown.
  17. Allow to rest for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
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