This meat pie has some amazing ingredients like beef, unsalted butter, pepper, olive oil, mushrooms, bacon, carrots etc. Meat Pie is the only you pull out with a shortcrust base, sluggish-cooked fall-aside chunks of red meat are smothered in a rich gravy, crowned off with a golden puff pastry lid.
It’s knee-knockingly right comfort meals!
You can also try my recipe of Beef Taco Salad.
A big, fat, Family Meat Pie
It dawned on me yesterday that the traits of my very favourite meat-based foods lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. Give me either the spanking freshness of raw stuff (think: sushi, ceviche, tartare) or the melt-in-your-mouth-tender perfection of slow-cooked meat smothered in a rich sauce like shanks, short ribs, pulled pork, stews.
Anatomy of an Awesome Family Meat Pie
Here’s a breakdown of what makes up a amazing Aussie meat pie:
- Shortcrust base – Buttery and flaky, this pastry kind has enough structure to incorporate the great extent of rich filling! it’s miles blind baked (ie partially cooked earlier than filling) so it doesn’t pass soggy as soon as baked with the filling. Use save-offered shortcrust pastry for convenience (freezer section), however for a without a doubt exquisite Meat Pie, use home made shortcrust pastry!
- Meat Pie Filling – Your simple meat pie may most effective be made with pork. but the addition of mushroom, Beaverbrook, celery and carrots only makes it better! 1st Baron Verulam for flavour, mushroom for just standard more-delicious aspect. Celery and carrots add flavour into the sauce in addition to breaking up the filling texture a chunk so it’s not simply a hundred% complete-on meat.
The secret aspect on this meat pie sauce is Guinness (or other darkish beer or red wine) which makes it dark and wealthy in addition to adding a stack of flavour. It places your primary store offered pies to disgrace!
- Puff pastry pinnacle – The traditional topping for Meat Pies is puff pastry. You truly can’t top golden, flaky and buttery puff pastry because the lid for a meat pie!
Ingredients in Family Meat Pie filling
Here’s what is going in the family Meat Pie filling:
- Chuck red meat – A reduce of red meat made for gradual cooking that breaks down into fall-apart goodness, best for the use of for meat pie fillings.
- opportunity cuts: boneless brief ribs (however it’s fattier and pricier), beef osso buco (cook on bone then discard later) and beef cheeks (however the red meat pieces will buckle in place of stay in neat cubes).
no longer endorsed: brisket (a chunk stringy), steaks and different short cooking cuts of red meat, or roasts (too lean and will dry out).
- Onion and garlic – critical flavour base for the rich sauce.
- Carrots, celery and mushrooms – Vegetable add-ins. these introduce a chunk of non-meat goodness into the filling. without it’s meat, meat, meat! Which, while delicious, may be a chunk too complete-on!
- Beaverbrook – that is one in all my “secret ingredients” in meat pies. additionally for sausage rolls, for that remember! It’s sautéed at the beginning so other components can be cooked in the Bacon fat. And the 1st baron beaverbrook releases flavour into the sauce. but no, it doesn’t flavor 1st Baron Verulam-y at the end!
For the Meat Pie Filling Sauce
The sauce is basically a totally rich stew sauce that may be a beef & Guinness Stew that borrows strategies from a French-fashion stew like pork Bourguignon. Yep, we are stealing secrets and techniques from the French to make the very satisfactory Aussie meat pie!
The flavourful stout beer on this recipe is the motive why there are so few ingredients needed for flavour in the sauce. purple wine also can be used, for a barely more fashionable sauce choice – see beneath for extra on this.
- Guinness or different stout – This wealthy, darkish beer is a paranormal ingredient to use in sluggish cooked dishes due to the fact hours of simmering chefs out the alcohol and leaves in the back of a wealthy, earthy flavour that you can’t purchase in jars. there may be no hint of “beery” flavour left in any respect, simply the darkish and complex notes from the stout.
It also gives the sauce the deep, dark brown colour that’s a part of the attraction of this filling. no one wants a meat pie with a light filling!
Red wine can also be used for a barely extra fashionable sauce alternative (basically red meat Bourguignon sauce) that is similarly as scrumptious. I opted for Guinness here as it offers the sauce a slightly richer, earthier flavour that Aussies recognize and love approximately Meat Pies!
- Non alcoholic option – The high-quality flavour-boosting alternative could be to feature anchovies. it’s going to now not make it taste fishy however will add some proper complexity in lieu of beer. See recipe notes for directions.
- beef stock – believe it or no longer, there isn’t a big distinction between selfmade and shop-offered beef inventory in this recipe! i was quite surprised because by and large, for awesome traditional dishes of the arena, I locate that home made beef inventory is a key first-class that sets apart an awesome home made model from an remarkable eating place great one (like in Bourguignon and Coq au Vin).
however, for the Aussie Meat Pie, i discovered that store-offered pork stock changed into nearly as appropriate as the usage of selfmade. I assume it’s because beer does a lot more heavy-lifting inside the sauce in comparison to wine.
Whichever manner you cross, I don’t advocate using powdered red meat stock.
- Flour and butter (sauce thickening) – In nowadays’s recipe, we are thickening the stew using a simple French finishing technique referred to as a Beurre Manié. this is uncooked flour and softened butter mixed together, after which stirred right into a liquid (a sauce typically). It makes the sauce vibrant and thick.
The concept for this pie is as follows. The sauce needs to be thicker than normal stews else it runs everywhere when you serve a slice of pie. adding flour at the start approach you’re operating with an already-thick sauce even as it chefs. Thick sauces require normal stirring to make certain it doesn’t capture on the bottom of the pot but the problem is all this stirring causes the beef pieces which can be soft from long cooking to interrupt apart. We want adorable massive chunks, now not shredded beef!
it’s miles a lot, plenty less complicated just to use a Beurre Manié rather to thicken the sauce on the stop! (Bonus: You get to sound like a total seasoned whilst you inform your own family the way you made this.)
Base and lid for Meat Pie
Meat Pie Base – The conventional base for Meat Pies is shortcrust pastry. that is a buttery, flaky pastry this is used for things like quiche and sweet pies (like Pumpkin pie, Pecan pie).
It is right for meat pies due to the fact it’s miles sturdy sufficient to preserve as much as the rich, dense filling. This recipe requires 800g / 1.6 pounds of pork – this makes quite a piece of filling!
shop-offered is best, but home made shortcrust pastry definitely is well worth making when you have the time. the flavour is higher and also texture.
Puff pastry can also be used however for the base, to avoid the need to shop for two specific pastries. See recipe notes for directions.
How to make Family Meat Pie
Buckle in! This does take time to make because it entails making a sluggish-cooked stew filling which then desires to be cooled earlier than filling the pie. but it’s sincere, and an incredible leisurely weekend assignment. most of all you’ll realize with simply one bite that it became worth every 2nd!
1. Make the Meat Pie Filling
- Brown beef – Season the beef with salt and pepper, then brown aggressively in a heavy based pot over high heat. Turn the beef cubes to get a lovely brown crust all over. You don’t need to cook the beef all the way through here, we are just after colour on the outside. This not only adds flavour to the beef, but the golden bits left on the base of the pot adds valuable flavour to the sauce (that beautiful stuff is called fond).
- Cook ingredients individually – We start with bacon, cooked until golden and to release its fat. We then use the fat to cook the following ingredients. After the bacon is cooked, add it into the bowl with the browned beef.Then we add a little butter into the pot because the residual bacon fat isn’t enough to cook the mushrooms properly. We want the mushrooms to get nice and golden – and we need enough fat to get there! Once the mushrooms are done, remove to a separate bowl because we will be adding them into the stew partway through the slow cook time.Lastly onion, garlic, celery and carrots go in together. We don’t need to make these golden, we just want to cook the onion enough so the flavour transforms from pungent to sweet.
- Add liquids – Add Guinness, beef stock and water to the pot, then give it a good stir.
- Return beef and bacon to pot – Then add the browned beef and bacon back into the pot.
- Bring to simmer – Bring the stew up to a simmer, then cover with a lid. Remember, no flour added yet to thicken – we’re going to thicken the stew at the end because it’s easier.
- Slow cook 2 hours – Transfer the pot the oven for 2 hours adding mushrooms at the 1 hour mark. We add the mushrooms in later so they don’t become too soft.The oven temperature is 180°C/350°F (160°C fan) which might sound quite high, but actually, it’s the equivalent of simmering the stew on a very low heat on the stove. I generally prefer doing slow cooked stews in the oven rather than the stove because it’s lower maintenance – it’s entirely hands-off, no need to stir.
2. Thicken Sauce
- Out of oven – After 2 hours, the meat should be quite tender but not yet completely “fall apart at a touch”. The sauce will have reduced and darkened in colour but will still be very thin. We are going to thicken it in the next steps.
- Simmer for 20 minutes – Next, we put it on the stove to simmer for 20 minutes. The purpose of this step is to reduce the liquid a bit more because meat pie fillings have a more concentrated, smaller volume of sauce than typical stews. During this step, the beef will become “fall-apart-tender”. If it doesn’t, cover with a lid (to prevent further liquid evaporation) and keep simmering until it does!
- Sauce thickener Beurre Manié – Mix together the flour and softened butter to make a Beurre Manié. This is going to be mixed into the stew to thicken the sauce. The butter stops the flour forming lumps when it hits the hot stew (yay!).The purpose of using a Beurre Manié here is explained in the ingredients section earlier. It allows us to thicken the sauce without the problem of broken up meat from excess stirring!
- Stir in Beurre Manié – As noted above, once the Beurre Manié is made, you just need to stir it into the sauce. The butter just melts in effortless, so you hardly need to stir. Watch the lump-free thickening magic unfold!
- Thickened sauce – Continue to cook the sauce for a couple of minutes. As the flour cooks, it will continue to thicken the sauce. The goal: A sauce viscosity that is about the consistency of honey, ie. Thicker than normal stews but not pasty. When you cut the pie, you want the filling to ooze slowly not run everywhere. The filling does not thicken further when it is baked in the pie, so you want to get the sauce thickness right at this stage.The photo below shows what the filling should look like at this stage fresh off the stove. There is more sauce than you think too, which is what you want because some will inevitably get absorbed by the pastry (don’t worry! It stays crisp!).
- Cool filling – A VERY IMPORTANT STEP! The filling must be cooled before using for two reasons. Firstly, so it doesn’t soak into the pie crust base and make it immediately soggy. Secondly, so the hot filling doesn’t melt the butter in the puff pastry when the lid is put on. Melted butter in puff pastry = no puff = How to cool the pie filling – Cover the pot with a lid to prevent further liquid evaporation (else the sauce will get too thick from water loss). Then leave in the pot or transfer to a container. Let it cool on the counter for a few hours then transfer into the fridge. Never put a hot pot in the fridge!PRO TIP: For best results, leave the filling overnight. As with all stews, the flavour just gets better!
3. Assembling the Family Meat Pie
- Blind bake pie crust – Whether using store bought or homemade shortcrust pastry, it needs to be blind baked to ensure the base doesn’t go soggy once filled with the pie filling. “Blind baking” simply means that the crust is partially baked. It will finish baking once we fill it.Follow the directions in the Shortcrust Pastry recipe for how to make shortcrust pastry (if you want to use homemade) and how to blind bake the pie crust (whether using homemade or store bought).
- Fill crust – Once the crust has been blind baked, let it cool for 15 minutes. This helps ensure the base stays crispy because the pastry is more porous when hot.The Pie Filling should be at room temperature and not cold before filling the pie, for two reasons. Firstly, fridge-cold filling is stiff and difficult to evenly pack into the pie crust. Secondly, puff pastry sitting atop fridge-cold filling doesn’t cook as evenly. The edges of the pastry will go beyond brown well before the middle cooks.Fill the pie crust with the Meat Pie Filling. If using a 9″ / 23cm pie tin as I do, you should be able to use ALL the pie filling! It will fill it right to the surface with a slight mound. The filling sinks a bit as it settles into the casing when in the oven.
The Perfect Meat Pie Filling….
Notice how the pie filling is saucy, and that there’s plenty of it, but it’s not running everywhere and nor is it thick and stodgy (that’s a frequently used and unflattering term used around these parts). It’s a nice, thick gravy that (mostly) stays in the pie. That’s exactly what we’re aiming for!!
And here’s a couple of up-close-and-personal snaps highlighting the finest features of our meaty model:
Fall-apart beef – Just some photo evidence, in case you were in any doubt!
The pie crust! Flake perfection. It’s not stiff enough so you can hold an entire slice in your hands, nor is it supposed to be. But if you’re like me and you like to save the best for last, you’ll start from the sloppy end and eat your way towards the crust, then use your hands to eat the crust!
Overload of meat pie-making this year for various pie recipes has lead to the discovery of some handy make ahead tips!
- Bake ahead and store – Let the whole pie cool in the pie dish, then refrigerate. Once cool, you will be able to lift the whole pie out of the pie tin – it’s solid! Wrap and refrigerate 4 days or freezer 3 months. Thaw then bake for 30 minutes to reheat at 180°C/350°F, loosely covered with foil.
- Assemble and bake at the ready – Assemble the entire pie but do not do the egg wash (it just doesn’t hold up well when done ahead). Then refrigerate 2 days (beyond this, thawed puff pastry suffers) or freezer 3 months. Thaw, egg wash, then bake per recipe.
As a general note, thawed then refrigerated or refrozen puff pastry doesn’t puff up quite as well as when it is thawed then baked immediately. But for a meat pie, the difference is marginal enough to not matter.
Comfort Food Menu Suggestion
Make a mega-feast starring this Family Meat Pie with the addition of the following:
A big, beautiful Spring Salad filled with peas, asparagus and snow peas.
Garlic bread! Because nobody ever says no to garlic bread…
Self Saucing Butterscotch Pudding for dessert. Warm, soft, caramel flavoured cake AND a butterscotch sauce that magically makes itself? It’s got my name written ALL OVER IT!