Our Global Gourmet recipe series is designed to bring the foods we loved while traveling into our own kitchens and onto our own dinner tables. And since no meal is ever complete without a glass of wine to go with it, we’ve included wine, beer or spirit pairings as well.
The key to recreating International dishes at home is to start with an authentic recipe, adapt it to substitute ingredients you can’t find or don’t know how to work with, and simplify difficult techniques. Then it becomes more approachable and possible to make and enjoy at home.
This month’s Global Gourmet recipe is a dish we fell in love with while traveling in Australia.
Australian Meat Pie
The Australian Meat Pie is very popular in households around Australia, especially while watching Australian Football. Unlike a pot pie in the U.S., which has a saucier filling, the meat pie is meant to be picked up and eaten with your hands, so it’s a really convenient on-the-go snack or lunch. They’re also super easy to make at home and don’t require ingredients you won’t be able to find in your grocery. You can make them with a traditional filling of ground beef, onion and tomato sauce, or you can get creative and stuff them with just about any ingredients you desire. I’m thinking shortrib and mushrooms!
The best way to make these pies is to whip together a regular pie crust (or buy ready-made from the store) for the bottom and then top it with a puff pastry round. Using puff pastry for the entire pie will leave the crust greasy and limp, which isn’t at all what we’re looking for here. A typical pie crust makes for a nice, sturdy and crunchy base, so the pie can be picked up and eaten.
Pairing Australian Meat Pie with Wine
I’ll admit that wine probably isn’t the go-to drink to pair with a meat pie. If you’re sitting around watching footie and snacking on pies, you’re probably drinking beer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pair a wine with your meat pie, and I think it’s a great way to class up the dish for dinner.
Australian Shiraz is just the wine to stand up to the hearty, richness of a typical meat pie filling, like the one we’re making today. It has ground beef, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce, which requires a big, bold wine. Shiraz is intense and fruity and pairs well with these flavors. My local wine expert, Shelly Fitzgerald at Downtown Spirits is always putting me in touch with great wines that she’s chosen for the store. If you’re in Seattle, make sure you stop by Downtown Spirits expansive wine cellar to check out what they have to offer.
We’ve chosen a Four Sisters 2013 Shiraz from Central Victoria (one of the top wine growing regions in Australia). The Rosemount Estate Shiraz from South Australia is also a good choice. I also like The Black Stump 2013 Shiraz, which is 60% Durif and 40% Shiraz. I hadn’t heard to the Durif varietal before, until I looked it up and realized that it’s often classified as Petite Sirah.
If you can’t find either of these in your local wine store, you can purchase them from wine.com, or substitute for a South Australia Shiraz you can find locally.
I’m not sure you need to look any further than Shiraz, but if you’re a white wine drinker, you can pair the meat pie with an Australian Marsanne, like the one we have featured here from Tahbilk (2014 Marsanne). The citrus and stone fruit notes work well with the acidity of the tomato sauce.
Making the Australian Meat Pie
As I said before, it’s really easy to make these tasty pies. And I think the best part is that you can decide what shape and size you want too. You could make mini-pies in a cupcake pan or one large pie in a regular-sized pie pan. I like to make them in my 8-ounce ramekins. You could also grab some disposable 5-inch tins if you want them to look more like traditional pies. These reusable mini pie tins can be purchased on Amazon and they are perfect for hand pies.
The first thing you need to do is make the bottom pie crust. It’s super simple to mix together a pie crust, so don’t be intimidated to make your own. If you don’t have time or just don’t want to make it, you can purchase a ready-made pie crust. Basically all you do is mix the flour and salt together, then use a fork or a dough cutter to cut in the shortening until a crumble forms. Add ice-cold water and form a ball from the dough. It’s best to refrigerate it for a short time, so it has time to rest.
The recipe below will make at least 6 bottom crusts, perhaps more. So take a chunk off the ball and roll it out on a floured surface until you have a 6-inch circle that is about 1/8 inch thick. Add that crust to the bottom of your pie pan and form it around the area to fit.
Now for the beef filling. Add some oil to a pan over medium heat and sweat the onions a bit before adding the ground beef. Break up the beef as it cooks to the size you want. I like to leave it in a medium crumble, rather than completely mince it up.
When the meat is done, mix together the corn starch and a bit of broth to form a paste and stir it into the meat. This will allow the sauce to thicken so it sets up inside the pie and doesn’t make the crust soggy. Finally, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a few minutes until the filling has thickened. All the meat filling to cool before spooning it into the pie crusts. If the filling goes in hot, the crust won’t have enough time to fully cook.
To cut a round for the top crust of the pie, use the pie pan you’ve chosen to cut the puff pastry sheet to the right size. Once the pie has been filled, place the puff pastry round over the top and press to seal the two crusts together. I like to brush on an egg wash to the top pastry so it browns up nice and pretty. Stick it in the oven for about 40 minutes, keeping an eye on the top crust to make sure it doesn’t burn. It’s ready when the top crust has turned a nice golden brown.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links to products on Amazon.com that I used while making this recipe.
Australian Meat Pie
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup beef stock
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon bbq sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until coarse crumbs form. Stir in the water until a cohesive ball of dough can be formed. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- On a floured counter or board, roll the dough into a 6-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for until soft. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the pieces into a crumble.
- Mix corn starch with 1 tbsp of stock to form a paste; add to the beef mixture and stir.
- Add remaining stock and sauces to beef mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until thick. Allow the mixture to cool.
- Once cool, spoon the filling into each pie pan. Place pre-cut puff pastry round on top of each. Place pies in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.