We have been on a bit of a culinary adventure around the world lately with meals inspired by the Middle East, Greece, Japan, and Italy - so I felt it was time to pay a little homage to that great Aussie Icon - The Meat Pie!!
The humble meat pie is about as Australian as it gets! How does that song go? Football, meat pies, kangaroos and holden cars! The Iconic Harry's Cafe De Wheels has been serving meat pies to Sydney siders and celebrities since 1938 - the Cafe was even given National Trust Classification in 2004!
Meat pies can be found in take away shops, bakeries, service stations, and sporting events in towns all over Australia. As a nation we consume more than 260 million pies per year!!! So what makes a great meat pie?
The perfect pie has a base of shortcrust pastry for tenderness, and a puff pastry lid for crispness - but the all important part is the filling! It must have a well flavoured filling - chunky pieces of beef with a lovely thick gravy holding it all together, although traditionally the pie has been made with beef we are seeing more and more permutations of the pie all the time - even green curry chicken pies!!!
Last night I made my offering with a Roasted Tomato Sauce and of course mashed potato and peas - it was pretty good!
Aussie Meat Pie with Roasted Tomato Sauce
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove crushed garlic
1 kg chuck steak, diced into 3cm cubes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheets puff pastry
400g can crushed tomatoes
4 large tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled only
pinch of chilli flakes (to taste)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
In a large heavy based saucepan heat a small amount of olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the beef in batches, set aside on a plate. Repeat until all the beef is browned.
Add a small amount of oil to the pan and cook the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions have softened slightly. Return the beef to the pan, add the stock, tomato paste and worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until the beef is soft and tender. You may need to add a little water to the pan - just enough to have sufficient gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Into a baking dish (or disposable foil tray!) place the tomatoes, onion, garlic and chilli. Drizzle with the olive oil, and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 220 C for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. Sprinkle over the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10 minutes. Cool slightly before pureeing in a food processor, or with a stick blender.
Now for the pies. Cut the pastry for the base of the pies slightly larger than the circumference of your pie dish. Cut the puff pastry top at the same time. Gently ease the shortcrust pastry into the base of the pie. Fill with the meat mixture, then top with the puff pastry lid. Gently pinch the top and bottom layers of pastry together using the tines of a fork. Brush the top lightly with milk, then bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until lovely and golden.
Serve with mashed potato and peas, and a lashing of the tomato sauce on top!
I really think I am going to have to start blogging salads soon!!