It needs no introduction to Aussies, but if you’re an overseas reader, then you need to know that the good ol’ Aussie meat pie (with lashings of tomato sauce) is a cultural icon, without which no Aussie football match would be complete.
If you’re not a footy fan, there’s always the supermarket freezer compartment, where the defrost, heat ‘n’ eat variety can be obtained.
I love a meaty-flakey-pastry meat pie, but I try to stay away from processed foods, remembering Michael Pollan’s advice (in In Defence of Food*), to not eat anything with more than 5 ingredients on the label. So it’s got to be a home-made variety.
I cheated and borrowed a piemaker from a friend:
I cheated again and used bought pastry but I made the filling.
Half a kilo of premium mince. Onion, garlic and parsley, chopped in the Thermomix:
Mix together and stir fry it all in the wok till cooked. I prefer to use a wok because there’s plenty of room to really toss it around without fear of any ending up on the bench or the kitchen floor:
Add flavours and seasonings of choice. I added some tomato relish, plum chutney (because I had a lot), a dash of Worcester sauce and I can’t remember what else. I kept tasting and stopped when I was happy with it. It shouldn’t be too sloppy.
I intended this to be frozen in batches, so pie-sized portions (about half a cup), go into small containers:
These ones lock together. Quite handy for stacking in the freezer:
A pastry cutter comes with the piemaker. It cuts a top and a bottom. Two pies to one sheet of pastry. The bottoms have 6 slits which, with a bit of manual dexterity and crimping of edges, can be formed into little cups. The tops stay flat:
Heat the piemaker till the green light says ‘ready’. Now comes the tricky bit. Without burning any fingers, skillfully drop the bottoms into the hollows, then fill with the filling. You have to be quick here, as the bottoms are already starting to cook. As you can see I made one meat and one apple and sultana (for dessert) and as you can also see, there isn’t time to get the lighting and the focus perfect (Nigella would have her own expert cameraperson. I don’t):
Pop on the tops (again without burning fingers) and close the lid. While they’re cooking there’s time to wipe the greasy fingermarks off the camera. You need to check periodically, by lifting the lid. Not done yet:
Ah, that’s more like it. Doesn’t take more than a few minutes:
A squirt of Dijon mustard, some buttered broccolini, home-grown gold zucchini and that’s dinner:
And not a football in sight!
* I discovered there’s a free download of Pollan’s book here. Not sure if it’s complete or legal, or if Pollan gets anything out of it, but you can give it a go. Or do the right thing and buy the book.
I should also mention that you can make a heap of pies in one sitting and freeze them for later heating. The choice is yours.