The smell of hot meat pies always takes me back to my primary school and the walk from the canteen to our classroom. I can picture a fellow classmate and myself carrying a white plastic laundry basket, half-filled with brown paper bags and the aroma of hot pies wafting about. I also clearly recall digging out Mum’s Margaret Fulton cookbook desperately wanting to recreate these pies at home, and I did. I was ten years old so you will have to forgive me, but I remember that I was quite disappointed that it didn’t taste like the pie I got from the tuck shop. So I cooked it again and again, probably over 20 times while I lived at home and it became a family favourite. I’ve diverted from Margaret’s recipe somewhat, but it has a rich meaty depth of flavour, which is how I like my meat pie. It just took me a while to get it right.
What you’ll need:
1kg beef mince
2 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
250g mushrooms, finely diced
20g dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup (250ml) red wine
3 cups (750ml) beef stock
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons corn flour
Shortcrust pastry to line your dish and cover the top – I make my own but store-bought is fine.
1 beaten egg, for glazing
25cm pie dish
What to do:
Soak the porcini mushrooms in one cup of recently boiled water for 10 minutes or until soft, strain the mushrooms (reserving liquid) then finely dice.
Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Brown beef in batches ensuring you get some good caramelised meat. This is really important. If you don’t get that caramelisation now, you won’t get the meaty depth of flavour in your pie. Remove the beef, then add the mushrooms and brown. Lower heat to medium and add onions and carrots and sauté until tender. Return the beef to the pan and add the porcini, wine, stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low-medium heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Mix cornflour with ¼ cup water to a smooth paste, then stir into the pie filling and cook for a couple minutes until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Roll out your pastry to about 3mm thick and line your pie dish, then brush the lip with some beaten egg. Place cooled filling inside and cover with some more pastry. Trim the edge and pinch, press or fork to seal, then brush the lid with more egg.
Bake in 180°C oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden and the pastry is cooked through.
Recipe, photo and styling by Karen McFarlane