"I've always been fascinated with meat pies, but it's a chore to find good ones," says chef Casey Wall. "My Kiwi business partner, Manu, loves to talk up the pies of New Zealand and he's right. Petrol stations there serve better pies than a lot of Australian bakeries. This is my attempt to recreate one of the many pies we ate in Wellington."
- 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
- 500 gm minced beef
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 7 gm sea salt flakes
- 20 gm cornflour
- 1.2 kg butter puff pastry (see note)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 120 gm coarsely grated cheddar
- 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 300 gm beef scraps (see note), cut into cubes
- 100 gm piece of belly bacon, cut into 3cm cubes
- 1 onion, unpeeled, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled, halved
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 65 ml brandy
- 65 ml Worcestershire sauce
- 1.5 litres butcher-quality chicken stock
- 1For rich beef stock, heat a stockpot over high heat, add oil (it should smoke slightly when added), then add beef and bacon, and brown well on all sides, scraping often to keep from catching on
the bottom of the pan (8-10 minutes). Add onion, garlic, herbs and peppercorns and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender (6-8 minutes; reduce heat to medium if necessary so you don’t burn the bottom of the pan). Deglaze the pan with brandy and Worcestershire sauce, scraping the base of the pan, and reduce until liquid is almost evaporated (4-5 minutes). Add 250ml stock, reduce until evaporated (10-15 minutes), then add another 250ml stock and repeat. Add remaining stock and simmer over low heat until well flavoured (45-50 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan (discard solids) and simmer over medium heat until reduced to 275ml (8-10 minutes). Set aside.
- 2Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add minced beef and stir occasionally until cooked through (8-10 minutes), then drain in a sieve, reserving 1½ tbsp of fat. Return reserved fat to the pan, add onion and garlic and sauté until tender (8-10 minutes), then add beef, rich beef stock and salt and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, stir cornflour and 25ml cold water in a small bowl until smooth, add to beef mixture and stir continuously until sauce thickens (4-5 minutes), remove from heat and cool completely. Beef mixture can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick (if you’re using pre-rolled pastry, it will probably already be the correct thickness). Place on trays and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Cut out twelve 8.5cm rounds (these will be the tops) and twelve 13cm rounds from pastry (re-roll scraps and use for larger rounds if necessary). Line twelve 125ml muffin tins with larger rounds and divide half the cheese among lined tins. Spoon in beef mixture (freeze any leftovers for future use) and top with remaining cheese. Top with remaining pastry rounds, press edges together to seal and crimp with a fork. Brush with eggwash and bake until golden and puffed (25-30 minutes). Serve hot.
Note Order butter puff pastry from your local pâtisserie or use shop-bought pastry sheets, such as Carême. Order beef scraps from your butcher.
Drink Suggestion: In New Zealand these would be served with a Tui in the North or a Speight’s in the South. We’ve gone with Two Birds Sunset Ale. Drink suggestion by Manu Potoi