If you’re looking for a bit of a change this festive season, the Aussie meat pie is a timeless classic that will go down a treat. A go-to snack on any social occasion for the good folks Down Under, this is a great one for a casual Christmas lunch, especially if it’s by a barbecue.
This is easy to prepare and freeze ahead of the big day – all you have to do is warm them up in the oven just before your guests arrive.
There are a couple of tips and tricks to add flavour without having to whip up a stock from scratch. The key ingredients here are:
- tomato paste for an essential layer of umami;
- oyster sauce to add depth in the absence of beef stock;
- dark soy sauce for a light touch of treacle-like bittersweetness;
- Worcestershire sauce for a vinegar-like tang to cut through the beefy richness.
While the addition of oyster and dark soy may sound a little odd, they go a long way in helping to bring forth the flavours of this pie. Serve these up with a good dollop of tomato sauce and they’ll be guaranteed to light up the party this festive season.
Flavours and pairings
This is a simple, no-fuss kind of beef pie that relies entirely on the flavour of the meat itself and, importantly, pepper; while the carrots bring a lovely layer of comfort with their jam-like sweetness.
Best served outdoors and in the sunshine with a really good pint of cold beer – preferably an Aussie one, to stay true to the theme!
Ingredients (for 8 medium-sized pies)
- 350g mince beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- 1 medium carrot, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2.5 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1.5 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or 6-7 dashes of the bottle)
- 1-1.5 teaspoons ground black pepper (or 18-20 cracks of the pepper mill)
- 2 sheets shortcrust pastry (for the base of the pies)
- 2 sheets puff pastry (for the tops of the pies)
- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- Add the olive oil to a large pot and bring the heat up to medium. Add the onions and bay leaf, and cook until the onions are slightly translucent.
- Add the carrots, garlic and salt, then reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions and carrots are softened and a little jam-like in texture. Remove and set aside.
- Bring the heat up to medium-high before adding the beef mince to the pot. Use the residual oils in the pot to brown the meat in a flat layer for about 2-3 minutes or until it gains some colour.
- Add a teaspoon of cornflour, then toss and cook through evenly for 2 minutes.
- To build the sauce, start by adding the tomato paste. Mix well and allow the tomato paste to cook and darken to add a rich umami-like flavour to the beef.
- Add the oyster sauce and cook until it has developed a caramel-like layer around the meat.
- Return the onions and the carrots to the pot and stir through with the beef. Add enough water to cover.
- Now add the dark soy and Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Stir everything together well and add a little salt.
- Cover with a lid and allow everything to simmer on a low heat for 1-1.5 hours. Check the pot every so often to ensure the developing stock has not completely reduced. Top up with water as needed to build a rich gravy.
- As a final touch, add a slurry of cornflour (1.5 teaspoons cornflour with 1 tablespoon hot water) to the pot. Mix through and allow to cook out for a final 10 minutes uncovered.
- Ensure at this stage that there is enough liquid to retain moisture, and the texture of the gravy remains a little gooey. Remove from the pot and allow everything to cool completely, and the pie filling is done!
- Now prep your pie tins or pie maker with a layer of shortcrust pastry for the base. When the filling has cooled, add a good heaped tablespoon and top with a layer of puff pastry.
- Finally, cook the pies in a pie maker until golden brown, or bake in the oven at 200°C for 15-20 minutes, adding a layer of egg wash to the top of the pies before baking.
- Serve these pies toasty and warm, or freeze them to reheat on demand. Add a good dollop of ketchup on the top before digging in, and enjoy!
@theorangesieve serves up recipes from the heart, inspired by travels near and far. It’s all about food that humbly invites you to discover the truth about flavour: the people, the culture and the stories behind them… the kind of food that leaves you with a smile for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on.