In Australia, hand-sized meat pies are a party staple, and most sporting arenas will also have vendors selling meat pies to the spectators. If you ever go to an event for Australian rules football or Rugby League, you can definitely expect people to be eating meat pies there.
There are many different meat pie variants available, but most of them contain diced or minced beef in some sort of gravy. Popular additions are cheese, mushrooms or veggies.
Recipe for Australian meat-pie
This recipe is for small Australian meat-pies that are perfect for parties. You make them in muffin tins, so you need enough holes for 16 pies.
Ingredients for 16 meat pies
Ingredients for filling
- 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil or similar
- 3 lbs of a beef cut suitable for slow cooking (e.g. chuck steak), cut into 2/5” cubes
- 2 onions, peeled and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 ½ cup dry red wine
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Ingredients for pastry
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 sheets of shortcrust pastry (10 inches by 10 inches). If you buy frozen, let it thaw before use.
- 4 sheets of puff pastry (10 inches by 10 inches). You might not need all of it, but it’s better to have too much than too little.
- Butter to grease the muffin tins with (You need enough tins for 16 pies)
- Heat up a big pot over high heat.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into the pot together with half of the beef cubes.
- Lightly brown the outside of the meat. Remove to a bowl.
- Pour 1 tablespoon into the pot again and brown the remaining beef cubes. Put in the bowl with the other beef cubes. Set aside.
- Lower the heat under the pot to medium, and add the remaining oil to the pot together with onion and garlic. Fry until the onion is translucent; it will normally take around 5 minutes. (Stir it around once in a while to make sure it doesn’t get burned.)
- Put the beef cubes into the pot with the onions. Add all the other filling ingredients to the pot, except for the water and the cornstarch. Stir around until its combined. There should be enough liquid to nearly cover the meat. If not, add some water (or wine / broth if you have some extra laying around).
- Bring the stew to a simmer.
- Lower the heat below the pot to low / medium low. The temperature is right when the stew is bubbling in a very gentle way.
- Put a lid on the pot and leave the stew to simmer until the beef is very tender. It will normally take 45-60 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time, and check if there is enough liquid. There shouldn’t be much evaporation leaving the stew since you have the lid on, but be ready to add more liquid if necessary.
- When the beef is very tender, pour cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water into a cup with a lid and shake it well. Make sure there are no clumps.
- Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pot and stir to mix it in.
- Leave the stew cooking for 5 minutes more to allow the stew to thicken. (Remember that it will thicken even more as it cools, so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect meat-pie consistency yet.)
- Add salt to taste.
- Remove the pot from the stove and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
- Grease the muffin tins.
- The shortcrust pastry is for making the “cup” part of the pie shell. Check the size of your muffin tin holes and cut the pastry accordingly. My muffin tin calls for circles that are approximately 4 inches in diameter, so I use a tea mug of that size to guide me when I cut.
- Place one shortcrust pastry circle in each muffin tin hole. Press them gently to turn them into “cups”.
- Fill each “cup” to the brim with beef stew from the pot.
- The puff pastry will be used to make lids for the pies. Check which size would be best for your particular pies and cut accordingly. I need circles that are a bit bigger than 3 inches in diameter, so I use a coffee mug of that size to guide me when I cut.
- Put a lid on each pie. Press or nip gently along the rim to join the lid with the “cup”.
- With a small and sharp knife, make four little slices in each lid to give steam a way to get out of the pies and reduce the risk of cracking.
- Lightly beat the egg yolk in a small bowl.
- Brush the pies with egg yolk.
- Put the muffin tin in the oven. (Or tins, if you have enough space in the oven.) Bake until the pie lids are of a dark golden brown shade. This will normally take 20-25 minutes or so.
- Take the tin(s) out of the oven and leave in room temperature to allow the pies to rest for a few minutes.
- Carefully transfer the pies to a wire rack.