Hi all, hope everyone’s doing well on this slightly warm, somewhat cloudy, wintery day. Well at least if you’re in Australia it’s a somewhat cold wintery day.
I envy all you Northern Hemisphere folks who are currently enjoying a nice warm summer!
I am currently sitting at my kitchen table typing away at this blog post while i let my two cats roam outside in the backyard and laze in the sun… like all cats love to do.
You may be wondering why i am wasting my time watching my cats go outside (i know, i know it sounds ridiculous). But these two little cuties are inside only cats. We live on a super busy road by the beach that constantly has cars hooning down it. So we keep our little babies inside to keep them safe.
I do however like to let them out to bask in the sun when we get a nice warm day! And i’ll tell you basking is exactly what they’re doing!!
Anyway back to the point at hand. Aussie meat pies…
Now if you’re from the good old United States of the Americas then you’re probably sitting there thinking why the hell would anyone want to go and ruin a good pie by filling it full of beef mince. If i’ve done my research correctly all of you American readers prefer your sweet pies, the cherry pies, apple pies and pecan pies. I have to admit i do love a good apple pie.
Over here in Australia we’re all about the humble meat pie. And I promise you it will not disappoint.
The whole reason i decided to write this post up was because its currently footy season over here. And no i’m not talking about Rugby or Soccer or American football. I’m talking about the good old fashioned Aussie Football League (better known as AFL).
It’s somewhat of a tradition during footy season to eat meat pies. I don’t know why but if you don’t have a meat pie in one hand and a beer in the other then you’re not doing footy right. Trust me.
So anyway, at the beginning of footy season i like to make up a big (and i mean big) batch of pies and freeze them. This means when the game rolls around every week we can grab a bunch of pies out, chuck them in the oven and enjoy. It is really the easiest thing ever… and lets be serious, can you even get more Australian than that??
Now this is my adaption of the Aussie meat pie recipe. It is super simple and ridiculously tasty.
If you’re not from Australia there might be a few ingredients that you may struggle getting ahold of. Like the infamous ‘Vegemite’. If you cannot get ahold of vegemite don’t worry. Just don’t add it, you may need to add a bit more salt and pepper to make up for the lack of seasoning from the Vegemite though!
For those of you who haven’t tried Vegemite yet and are looking at broadening your horizons, do NOT try it like all the American’s do on those facebook videos called ‘American’s try Aussie food’. Because i’m telling you we do not eat a spoonful of vegemite straight out of the tub. I can guarantee you that it will taste horrible so just don’t try.
If you do however feel like trying some classic Aussie Vegemite for the first time then you’re gonna want to start with some nice fresh white bread (don’t go for some wholemeal stuff, trust me white is definitely better to get the full Vegemite experience). You can either toast your bread or leave it plain, either works fine. Get yourself a thick layer of butter and then a very thin layer of Vegemite over the top. Now i mean a thin layer, you want say 70% butter to 30% Vegemite ratio on your bread. Whack it in your mouth and you will thank me later. It’s delicious.
If you’re a bit like me and love to know all the history behind a type of food then give this a quick read.
The origins of the Aussie meat pie are thought to have come across to Australia with the first settlers, these mainly being the English. The English already had their version of the meat pie, such as steak and kidney pies, the cornish pastry and guinness pies.
At the time in Australia mutton was far cheaper than vegetables, which led to the creation of a meaty pie with a thick gravy. Pies were available in Sydney from around the mid 1800s, shortly after with the creation of Aussie house name brads such as Mrs Mac’s (1940s) and the popular Four’N’Twenty (1974).
It is estimated that Australian’s consume an average of around 12 meat pies per year! Honestly not nearly enough for my liking.
One important thing to remember when eating the Aussie meat pie is to include a substantial squeezing of tomato sauce (ketchup).
This humble meat pie is super easy to put together. I’ll warn you in advance though, you’ll need to get yourself a pie maker. You can make them in the oven in individual pie dishes, however go and spend $50 on a pie maker and your life will be 3000 times easier.
Start off by putting a large fry pan over a medium-low heat. If you’re planning on doubling or tripling this recipe (for freezing later on) then get yourself a big pot on the stove instead.
Dice your onions nice and small and add to your pot with a good drizzle of olive oil. You want to sweat and caramelise your onions, not colour them too drastically.
This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on the amount of onions you have, the heat etc.
Don’t rush this step, getting a nice flavour from your onions is super important and will make all the difference.
Once your onions are looking real nice turn up the heat a bit and add your mince. Cook this until nice and brown. While it’s cooking you can use a wooden spoon to break up all your mince into smaller pieces.
In a seperate small bowl, mix your cornflour and 1 tablespoon of stock together to form a paste. Add the paste, the remaining stock, the sauces and the vegemite to the mince. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for around 10 minutes until it’s nice and thick.
You don’t want a runny gravy in your pie so you want your mince mixture nice and thick!
If you’re using a pie maker then cut your pastry to size. Place the bottom layer of the pastry into the pie maker. Fill your pies and then cover with more pastry. Cook for around 8-12 minutes or until the pastry is nice and crispy and brown.
Then you’re done! Enjoy hot with a big dollop of tomato sauce.
If you don’t have a pie maker then you’ll need to get ahold of some 8cm pie pans (8cm is the base measurement). Cut 15cm circles from your pastry and use this to line the bases and sides of your pans. Fill the pastry with mince. Place another 15cm circle over the top of the pie and seal the edges by pushing the fork around them. Brush the top with egg and bake in a hot oven for 20-25minutes.
A quick note on the pastry. I tend to use shortcrust for the base of the pies and then puff pastry for the tops. It seems to give you the perfect mixture of puffy-ness (if thats even a word) and crispy golden-ness for your pie.
If you are making a large batch and wanting to freeze your pies then simply follow the directions below, prepare your pies and cook them. Then allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once they are cool you can place them in zip lock bags or tupperware containers, label them and freeze them for up to 6 months. When it comes time to eat them, i find the best way to do it is to take them straight from the freezer and put them in the microwave for around 2 minutes. Then take them straight from the microwave to a hot oven 180C for around 20-30 minutes. You can also place them back into your pie maker to make them nice and crispy if you like!
If you don’t microwave them first then they take AGES to cook in the oven. Whereas if you only heat them up in the microwave then they go a bit soggy. Also if you have a container that is both microwave and oven proof that’s handy because they can be a bit soggy when you move them from the microwave to the oven so it’s best if you don’t have to pick them up and move them from plate to plate at this point.
The humble Aussie Meat Pie. A must have recipe for any true Aussie and a must try for everyone else. A beefy pie filled with a golden and crispy pastry, served with a side of tomato sauce.
Heat oil in a large fry pan over low-medium heat. Add your onion. Cook for 15-30 minutes, slowly sweating and caramelising the onion.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and add mince. Stirring with a wooden spoon and breaking the mince up while it cooks.
In a separate bowl mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of stock to form a paste.
Add the paste, remaining stock, sauces and vegemite to the mince. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 8-12 minutes or until the mixture is nice and thick.
Preheat oven to 220C (430F). Grease 6 x 8cm pie pans (8cm being the base measurement). Cut 6 x 15cm circles from shortcrust pastry and line the bottom and sides of your pie tins. Fill with mince.
Cut 6 x 8cm circles from puff pastry. Place over the top of meat. Use the end of a fork to crimp the edges of the pie down. Brush with the beaten egg.
Place pies into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately with tomato sauce.
Preheat your pie maker. Use the circle cutter that comes with your pie maker to cut 6 shortcrust base circles and 6 puff pastry circles for the top of the pies.
Place your shortcrust pastry circles into the pie maker. Fill with your mince filling. Place the puff pastry circles over the top and close the pie maker. Cook for 8-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve immediately with a side of tomato sauce.
Follow the instructions above and prepare your mince meat. Cook your pies either in the oven or in a pie maker. Once the pies are cooked allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the pies are completely cool (approx. 2 hours) place them in zip lock bags or into freezer prove container. Label and date your containers and place into the freezer for up to 6 months.
To eat your pies preheat your oven to 180C (360F). Place your pies straight from the freezer into the microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer your pies straight from the microwave into the hot oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
** Pastry. In Australia you can buy pre-cut pastry sheets. These are usually cut into 25x25cm squares. If you cannot get ahold of these sheets then simply roll your pastry to around 1/2cm thick and cut your circles out.