Friday, October 16, 2009

Around the world for a pie

HERE in Sydney, the past few weekends have been a sporting smorgasbord.

Three weeks ago it was the AFL Grand Final. Two weeks ago it was the NRL Grand Final. This weekend just gone was Australia’s biggest car race, the Bathurst 1000.

What else is a girl to do but make meat pies to go with the frolicking on the field?

You’d be hard-pressed to find anything more Australian than a meat pie, but it’s the joy of the internet era that I made Clotilde’s olive oil pastry for the bases of my pies. I had been planning to try out Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry but a bit of forgetfulness at the shops on Saturday morning ruled that out, and there’s something very 2009 about using a Parisian pastry for an Aussie staple.

It was fabulous, too, may I say, especially for someone who tends to have a heavy touch with pastry – easy to knead and roll out and beautifully short and flaky in the finished product, with the herbs - I used oregano, coriander and a touch of cumin - adding a lovely bit of flavour.

The filling originally called for two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and the flavour was a little overpowering, so I’ve knocked it down to one tablespoon in my recipe below.

Served with mashed potatoes, peas and a generous slathering of tomato sauce (which I forgot to take a picture of - what an amateur!) it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than anything you could get at the footy.

Oh, I almost forgot - I had a bit of filling left over after making the pies, which I have whacked in the freezer with the thought of making a nice easy pasta bake in the next week or so.

Meat pies

Makes 4 individual pies

1 tbs olive oil

1 large brown onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, julienned

1 zucchini, diced

A generous handful of button mushrooms, chopped

500g lean beef mince

1 tbs cornflour

3/4 cup beef stock

3/4 cup tomato sauce

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs barbecue sauce

1 tsp Vegemite

1 quantity Clotilde's olive oil pastry

1 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and vegetables and cook until onion is soft.
Add mince and cook, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, until browned. Toss in cornflour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add stock, sauces and Vegemite to mixture. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes or until thick. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Make the olive oil pastry, divide into quarters and roll out to fit four 10cm pie plates. Allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
When the pastry is ready, scatter some breadcrumbs on the base (this helps to soak up the juices and keeps your pastry from going soggy) and spoon in the cooled mince mixture.
Cut puff pastry sheet into quarters and use a little water to stick each quarter on a pie, cutting pastry to fit.
Brush with beaten egg, season and use a sharp knife to slit the lid to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

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