For most of us, the ingredients for a great Australia Day are simple – an esky filled with ice cold beer and a hot barbeque stacked with steak; a swimming pool of any form (paddling pools are entirely acceptable for young and old alike); and finally, Triple J’s hottest 100 countdown providing the day’s soundtrack.
Meat pies are a quintessential Australian love.
All over the country, bakeries compete for the title of ‘Best Pie in Aus’ and pride themselves on the flakiest pastry and most meltingly tender fillings.
We take our meat pies seriously here…
So to mark this year’s occasion, I’ve combined the classic flavours of steak and onion, added some local Little Creatures’ ale and shrunk the whole lot down to pint-sized party pies.
Tender pieces of beef, falling apart in a hearty onion gravy and surrounded by crispy, buttery pastry – topped, of course, with a generous squeeze of tomato sauce or ketchup… I challenge you just to eat one!
mini steak, onion & ale pies
makes 24 mini pies
1 kg rump steak, cut into 2cm cubes
¼ cup plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
⅓ cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 eschalots (french shallots), peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
330ml bottle of ale
1 cup beef stock
1 packet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
Toss the beef chunks in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. In two batches, cook the beef for a few minutes until browned, turning to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan (add extra oil if needed). Remove the beef and set aside.
Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining oil, onion, eschalots, garlic and thyme. Stir for five minutes until the onions have softened.
Return the beef to the pan and stir through the tomato paste and worcestershire sauce. Add the ale and beef stock, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for an hour on very low, stirring occasionally (use a heat disperser to ensure even coverage and prevent the bottom of from burning).
After an hour, uncover the sauce and simmer until thick, dark and reduced by about half. Taste and season well, then set aside to cool.
Preheat your oven to 200°C and lightly oil two 12-hole muffin pans.
Remove the puff pastry from its packet and cover with a cool, damp tea towel while you work with each individual sheet.
To make the pie cases, use a small bowl as a template to cut 8cm circles from the pastry sheets and mould into the bases of the muffin pans.
Spoon the beef mixture into the pastry shells, filling to one centimetre below the top.
Cut out smaller circles of pastry to use as pie tops. Brush the rims of the pie cases with beaten egg and top with pastry, pressing to seal.
Brush the tops with egg and make an incision on each to allow steam to escape (this is an important step if you don’t want pie mixture popping the tops off and oozing out the side)…
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and crispy.
Remove the cooked pies from the pans and place to cool on a baking rack, before serving with plenty of tomato sauce and cold beer.
Happy Australia day!