When you think of Australian food you could easily associate with our country, not a lot comes to mind. Most countries are lucky enough to have dish after dish of culinary identity to call their own, while we seem to be struggling to come up with a handful of iconic dishes and as a consequence we hold on to the ones we do have for dear life. We are a new nation so are a little bit behind in finding our own food identity. So what do we call our own with our heads held high with Australian pride? The top five would have to be: 1. The Meat Pie, 2. Lamingtons, 3. Pavlova, 4…… I’m already struggling :(.
I have fond childhood memories of waking up on Sunday mornings and accompanying my Dad on a trip to the local bakery for a Meat Pie for Breakfast along with a large chocolate milk. (yes, you did read correctly – we often ate Meat Pies for Breakfast :P) Well, I am a full grown adult now and still struggle with the urges of meaty goodness for a weekend Breakfast but have long since banned myself from such behavior – I discovered meat can be rather heavy on the stomach first thing in the morning and that puff pastry isn’t the best health wise.
I let my hair down today and treated myself and immediate family to a home cooked Aussie pie! I recommend everyone try these. America has such an awesome selection of sweet pies (which I took full advantage of while on holiday) but they do lack the selection and availability of the savory kind. So here it is, my first savory recipe!
Chunky Steak Meat Pies with Mushy Peas & Mashed Potato
Recipe adapted from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook
Makes 6 individual pies
- 2tbs Olive Oil
- 1 large onion, peeled & diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 1 large carrot, diced into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
- 2 celery stalks, diced into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
- 375g (13 oz) tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 55ml (1 3/4 fl oz) malt vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1tsp ground black pepper
- 1kg (2.2 lb) cubed beef, trimmed of fat & cut into 2-3cm cubes (3/4 – 1 1/4 inch)
- 1tbs of corn flour or potato flour
- Ready made shortcut pastry sheets
- Ready made puff pastry sheets
- Heat the oil in a medium/large sized saucepan over medium – low heat and cook the onion, garlic and thyme for 5 minutes.
- Add the carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring to combine.
- Add the beef to the pan and pour in enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes, until the meat is just tender but still with texture. The beef should not be falling apart.
- When the beef pieces are just tender, stain the mixture over a bowl keeping all the cooking liquids and set aside the meat and vegetable mixture. Return the cooking liquids to the saucepan on the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce the cooking liquids down to about one third the size.
- Mix the corn/potato flour with 2tsp of water and add to the cooking liquids. The mixture should now be a runny gravy consistency.
- Return the beef and vegetable mixture to the liquid and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a container with a large surface area to cool the mix down as quickly as possible, stirring every now and again as it cools.
- Preheat the oven to 200c (400f) and prepare your 6 individual pie dishes (I used six 12.5cm wide x 3.5cm deep (4 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch) pie dishes and I lined mine with baking paper).
- Line the bottom and sides of the pie dishes with the shortcrust pastry.
- Spoon the meat and vegetable mixture into the pastry-lined pie tins, filling them to the brim.
- To attach the pie pastry lids, brush the rim of the pastry bases with egg wash and lay the puff pastry lid over the base. Pinch gently between your thumb and index finger to make a good seal around the circumference edge.
- Brush the top of the pie lid with egg wash and make a small hole in the middle to allow steam to escape.
- Place the pies in the oven and reduce the temperature to 180c (375f) and bake the pies for 30 – 35min, or until golden brown on top.
- Remove the pies from the tins and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve with Mushy peas (recipe follows) and mash potato.
Recipe adapted from Australian Womens Weekly
- 50g butter (2 1/2tbs)
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups (600g) of fresh or frozen peas
- 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
- Place the onion, butter and pepper in a small – medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes of until onion is soft.
- Add the peas and stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until the peas can be easily mashed against the side of the pan.
- Strain the peas over a bowl, keeping the cooking liquid. Mash the pea mixture until soft, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid 1 tbs at a time if needed.