March 2, 2010

mini meat pies

I've been an Australian expat for eight years now - with some much-needed months-long intervals at home - but this is the first year it's ever occurred to me to throw an Australia Day party. I think there must be something about Texas that inspired me. Also, this is the first time I've been the only international among a group of friends - my closest friends here are all American, and I love them very dearly, and I thought they needed to eat things like meat pies, sausage rolls, pavlova and lamingtons. I was also hugely impressed by their collective ability to produce decorative Australiana, which far outstripped my own. My favourite was the gorgeous map of my country, hand-drawn and beautifully painted, by a wonderful 6 year old friend.

So, back in January: the most kitsch Australia Day ever, but very delicious. I also served tiny hamburgers complete with beetroot (beets - an essential component of the Aussie burger), fairy bread (white bread with butter and sprinkles, which I cut into the shape of Australia, and which the abovementioned 6 year old was a big fan of), a green and gold salad, and a lime and coconut cheesecake with a macadamia crust (macadamias are native to Australia). And yes, there were prawns (shrimp) on the barby.

This is Australian Gourmet Traveller's recipe for mini meat pies - or party pies, as we call them - so they're all steak, shallots, garlic and red wine. The result is probably more French than Australian, but they're unbearably delicious, and you definitely don't need to wait for imperialist national holidays to serve them. The recipe suggests topping them with puff pastry, but I chose to make a double batch of shortcrust. Serve them with tomato sauce (ketchup) - AGT says "homemade or good quality", and I say Heinz or Fountain.

The filling takes some time to cook and cool, and is best made the day before you assemble the pies.

PS I know it's disgraceful of me to use props with Union Jack on them for an Australia Day post, but this gorgeous Emma Bridgewater plate was the closest thing I could find to an Australian flag.

Mini Meat Pies
from Australian Gourmet Traveller

2 tbsp olive oil
600g chuck steak, chopped into 2cm pieces
for dusting: seasoned plain flour
4 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
200ml dry red wine
200ml beef stock
1/4 cup (firmly packed) thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten

for shortcrust pastry:
240g plain flour, sieved
180g cold unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Dust steak in flour, shake off excess, and cook in batches until golden, stirring occasionally (3-5 minutes). Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add shallots and garlic to pan, saute until golden (3-5 minutes). Add red wine, reduce by half (3-4 minutes), then add stock and thyme. Reduce heat to low, add steak, cover and simmer until tender (2-2 1/2 hours). Uncover and cook until sauce is thick (30-40 minutes). Season to taste, set aside to cool, then refrigerate until cooled completely.

To make the pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp salt in a food processor until just combined. Add 80ml iced water, a little at a time, and pulse just until a dough forms. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).

Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F. Roll pastry to 5mm thick and cut twelve 9cm-diameter rounds. Line a 12 x 60ml capacity muffin tray with pastry and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Meanwhile, cut twelve 7cm-diameter rounds of puff pastry and refrigerate until required. (Note that I made two batches of shortcrust and didn't top the pies with puff; this meant I could make 18 pies from the amount of filling I had.)

Divide pie mixture among pastry cases, fold in pastry edges, then brush with eggwash and top with pastry circles. Press edges together and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Brush with eggwash and then cook until golden and cooked through (15-20 minutes). (As you can see, I made a small hole in the top of each pie. The hole allows steam to escape, and I like the way it looks.)

* The AGT recipe says it makes 12; mine stretched to 18.


bigBANG studio said...

these sound pretty fabulous. might make them for a desert sundown cocktail party this weekend if i have time...would be SOOO divine to have a mini meat pie in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other!

Komal said...

nice pies! remind me of when my college class made canopes for 400 people and did mini hamburger and cornish pasties amongst others

CC11 said...

Your Australia Day menu sounded spectacular - and I can't believe I missed these in Gourmet Traveller, thanks for bringing them to my attention.

Sam (Healthylunchideas) said...

Oh these sound wonderful! A nice lunch box food! And I have to say, that plate is pretty adorable.

Jennifer said...

I have to say, I am always excited when an 'O Pistachio' update shows up in my inbox. Thank you for having such a delightful blog and scrumptious recipes!

This recipe is yet another one I can't wait to try! The chocolate and pecan gallettes were heavenly, by the way!

The Law Office of Levinson Axelrod said...

Very charming post, Aussie expat.

I've got a sweet spot for Aussies... and they've always talked about meat pies. Now I know why they like em! They look so delicious!

AMIT said...

Hey thanks for giving us this recipe.Its really useful.

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Emily said...

I read the title for this and all I thought about was Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd. These look really good :).

Elaine said...

Thanks for your great blog. I made these pies over the weekend and they were beautiful and good. I followed your example of using short crust instead of puff pastry on the top, and I was wondering if you had reduced the salt any in that second batch? I found that a double recipe of the crust made the pies a bit extra salty..... On the whole they were lovely and I am looking forward to using the same method and trying a variety of fillings....thanks again!

Ed McGoldrick said...

I love the touch of Australia on your meat pies; it shows your creativity in cooking and your national pride at the same time! It has been a while since I last ate a batch of meat pie with mashed potato on the side, in which the smoothness of the potato and the crumbly goodness of the meat are like eating a slice of apple pie and vanilla ice cream on top.

Anonymous said...

These were amazing! They took all afternoon to make, but totally worth it. Definitely recommend increasing the pastry by 1.5x-2x. Thanks

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