Two weeks of stress and project planning. That’s what it took me to finally give a go tonight to cooking an Australian Meat Pie for my World Food Challenge. Why so much pressure, will you ask? Well, first of all because I never had a meat pie before and had no clue what it was supposed to taste like (actually, well, I had Irish Guinness Pies before, but I read it tastes quite different). Second of all, making the pie pastry right seemed to be a sine qua non condition for the recipe to be a success and to be accurate according to pie making standards, and that is something I’ve never made before either, as a pie (with thick crust on bottom and top) isn’t really something we eat in my country. And third of all, to top it off, I did not have the right tins to shape the pies and I wasn’t sure the glass ramekins I intended to use would be suitable for a good and even baking in the oven. In other words, I thought I was already off to a bad start. It turned out I wasn’t at all! With a bit of organization for the grocery shopping and then in the kitchen, it all came around pretty nicely.
I would say the key to making this recipe right is to carefully follow some basic rules. If you’re told the dough must be kneaded on a floured surface, it means you cannot knead it in a large bowl, it has to be on a flat surface, period. If the pastry dough must be refrigerated for 50 minutes to an hour, do not try to cut down on it, otherwise your pastry might not hold properly. Half a cup of red wine? Not less. The only thing you are allowed to adapt is the baking time and temperature of your oven, because all appliances don’t function the same.
Normally, the meat pie in Australia is made of beef that is flavored with bacon. I do not eat pork, so I replaced the bacon with shredded pieces of Bresaola, this Italian air-dried and salted beef that is sold in the form of very thin slices. it worked out really nice, I do recommend this substitution if like me you do not eat pork, it gives the suitable flavor that adds up a little something to the recipe.
The Meat Pie has been declared Australia National Dish by former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr in 2003. It seems to be a typical takeaway food snack that is served with ketchup on top. I was out of Ketchup at home so I replaced it with BBQ sauce, which was a good idea as it added to it some smoky flavor that I love. Honestly, I’m really happy that I found out about this dish in order to successfully complete my World Food Challenge of Oceania! It is, for sure, something that I will cook again at home in the future, and I feel very proud that I overcame my fear of not doing right the pastry preparation as well as the meat and wine simmering.
INGREDIENTS (serve 4)
For the Pie Pastry Dough
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/4 cup of warm milk
- 1/4 cup of warm water
- 8 tbsp of butter
For the Meat Filling
- 250 grams of ground beef or diced beef
- 4 slices of Bresaola
- 1 tbsp of vegetal oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of red wine (I chose Merlot)
- 1/2 cup of beef broth
- 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch in 2 tbsp of water
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 1 tsp of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- Ketchup or BBQ sauce on top of the pies
- Prepare the dough first. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a saucepan, heat water and milk, and let the butter melt. Combine the liquid to the flour and start kneading. When the dough rapidly start to form, continue kneading the dough on a lightly floured surface.
- Film the dough and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.
- Sear the meat in a pan, then set aside.
- Heat the oil in the pan, sauté pieces of Bresaola and the onion.
- Add the meat and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Deglaze with red wine, then add the beef broth, the nutmeg and the Worcestershire sauce.
- Cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes, more if some liquid remains. The meat must have a little braised-look in the end.
- Add the cornstarch with water and stir well.
- Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
- Turn off the heat and let cool the meat.
- Preheat the oven at 190 degrees Celsius
- Butter your molds, or arrange a baking sheet to cover all sides and edges.
- Roll the dough about 3 mm thick on a lightly floured surface, cut circles of dough that are large enough to cover the bottom and the sides of each individual tin mold for every pie you’re going to make.
- Fill with the meat preparation and toss with a spoon (the meat preparation must look compact).
- Cover with another circle of dough (you might need to roll and cut the dough several times to complete the 4 pies). Take care of putting in firm and sticky contact the dough from the bottom and top of the pies, so that they adhere perfectly.
- Brush the pies with eggwash (= egg yolk or egg yolk+milk).
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. I had to adjust the temperature up to 210 degrees about half-way because my oven was a bit weak and the colouring was taking too long. That allowed to complete the baking within the given 40 minutes.
- Unmold and serve hot with the BBQ sauce or Ketchup on top.
For more international cuisine recipes, you can check out my Cookbook right here: A French Girl’s Cooking Adventures in Her Kitchen.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.