Following a three course feast I prepared for the second game of State of Origin, I was inspired by Mel (Miss Piggy) to make something more Aussie and humble for the Origin decider. A meat pie with the lot! I kind of wish we weren’t heading out for the game tonight, so that I could sink my teeth into one of these babies again…
I’m no fan of frozen pies, mainly because the thought of not knowing what’s in it freaks me out, plus I find the case pastry too thick, chewy and floury. To overcome the issue, I’ve used puff pastry for both the casing and the lid, resulting in a gorgeous golden brown flaky crust on both the top and the bottom.
To enrich the filling I added a good splash of red wine, Worcestershire sauce and, my pièce de résistance, dried porcini mushrooms along with the water they had been soaking in! The flavours work together so well, resulting in a filling was mind-blowingly good. I know this because, before he even had a chance to finish his meal, Mr Chipconnoisseur requested the spare pie be saved for his lunch box… That means a lot!
To balance the richness of the filling with a little acidity and add a serve of veg to the meal, I roasted a bunch of truss cherry tomatoes alongside the pies and they, too, were a winner.
While I used dried peas to make the mushy pea topping to avoid preservatives and added colours in the canned mushy pea variety, using canned garden peas is definitely a quicker and more fuss-free option, so I included it here.
Hope you enjoy the pies and the game. Go the Blues!
Meat pie with mushy peas and gravy
The ingredient list looks a tad long, but trust me, it’s nothing too complicated even for the most basic cooks.
You can use canned mushy peas and packet gravy as substitutes but just be aware they tend to contain additives. If you haven’t got a pie tray, a muffin tray will do, but your pies will be smaller and you may need to use 3-4 pastry sheets instead of 2.
- 500g beef mince (5 star)
- 1/2 large brown onion, peeled and diced
- 10g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine (Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tablespoons of oil for frying
- 2 sheets of rolled puff pastry
- 1 can of peas, drained
- 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 2 mushrooms
- 1/2 large brown onion
- 1/2 cup stock
- 1 tbsp oil for frying
- Pepper to taste
To make the filling: soak dried porcini mushrooms in 1/4 cup cold water for about 10 minutes. Using kitchen scissors “chop” mushrooms, still in the bowl, into small pieces. Set aside to continue soaking until you are ready to use them.
Heat oil in a stock pot on medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add mince and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is nicely browned.
Mix wine, Worcestershire sauce, porcini mushrooms plus soaking water and brown sugar in a jug. Pour into the pot. Add marjoram and enough extra water to just cover the mince. Bring to a boil then lower heat so that the mixture is just about simmering – you want tiny gentle bubbles.
Allow to cook for about 1 hour, mixing from time to time to prevent sauce from sticking to the bottom. This will help the water to evaporate and flavours to infuse.
After an hour, the mixture should start to become thick, but not dry. At this stage dilute flour in 2-3 tbsp cold water and add to the mince, stirring to combine. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before spooning into pie cases.
Preheat ovento 220C (200C fan forced, 425F, gas mark 7).
To make pastry cases / pies: thaw 2 sheets of puff pastry. Cut into 4 squares each. Butter 4 pie or 8 muffin tray holes thoroughly, including the rims.
Press each square into the hole, starting from one side and working your way around. Remove any air trapped under the pastry by lifting it up gently and readjusting.
Spoon pie filling into the pastry, gently pressing down and make an even mound on top. Cover with another pastry square and press down around the edges of each hole to seal. Cut off excess pastry with a knife (see tip). Press down around gently with a fork to double check the lids are sealed. Brush lids with a little extra butter.
Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. If making, place truss cherry tomatoes in a small baking tin and roast on the shelf below for the same duration.
Tip: you can knead some grated Parmesan or pecorino into the pastry then tear into bite sized pieces and bake for 10 minutes after you’ve made the pies to make little cheesy crackers.
To make mushy peas: process or mash drained peas until semi-smooth. Heat up in a microwave just before serving then mix in some yoghurt to achieve a softer consistency.
To make gravy: slice onion and mushrooms. Heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat, add onion and mushrooms and cook until lightly browned. Add stock. Transfer to a measuring jug and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Add more water or stock if you prefer a more runny sauce.
To serve: top each pie with mushy peas pour over some gravy. Serve roasted tomatoes alongside.