What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: meat pie

Meat Pie

Now don’t go reading this as a recipe. I did make a meat pie. It was very good. But it wasn’t what I’d hoped and dreamed it would be.

I’ve been asked by a member of the audience about making pastry in the Thermomix. I haven’t had so much a rocky relationship with pastry as a uniformly rotten one. I suck at making pastry. So when my parents in law were coming for dinner yesterday I thought I’d make a meat pie to try out two different types of pastry in the Thermomix. I’m sorry, Christina, it was far and away the best best pastry I’ve ever made. My problem was with the insides.

First the pastry. I like a shortcrust on the bottom of a meat pie and a puff on top. To make the shortcrust you place in the Thermomix jug one hundred grams of cold butter cut into pieces with two hundred grams of plain flour and a pinch of salt. This is an ideal situation in which to use Pepe Saya butter. Zap it on speed six for ten seconds. Add fifty to sixty grams of cold water and knead on interval speed for ten to twenty seconds. Peek in through the lid, stop it when it has formed a dough mass. Haul it out and put it on your cold, floured Caesarstone bench top and gently squash it into a disk shape. I then put it in the pie dish and stuck it in the fridge for twenty minutes. And this is where my experience deviated significantly from every other time I’ve made pastry. I put the pastry back on the bench top and rolled it out and it looked like pastry! It usually cracks and breaks and is generally a pain in the neck. But this lot stayed in circle shape and even held together as I gingerly transferred it back into the by now greased and floured pie dish.

That got baked for twenty minutes, and even though I didn’t bother blind baking it held its shape.

Then I made the meat filling and wasn’t that learning experience. Normally I’d brown the meat in a saucepan and stew it in some chicken stock with two tablespoons of corn flour mixed into it. This is because my dear children don’t like their meat too flavoursome and they certainly don’t like bits of onion or carrot in it. The Horror goes so far as to say that he doesn’t like gravy either, and why can’t I just make an empty pie and stick some bits of roasted meat in there? We’ve got a long way to go with him. But now I can chop up the flavoursome vegetables into microscopic bits! So I put I the Thermomix jug a halved onion, a clove of garlic, a thick slice of fennel root, a roughly chopped stick of celery and a roughly chopped carrot. I zapped that lot, then cooked it at a hundred degrees for seven minutes with a slice of butter. I then put in five hundred grams of diced chuck beef, half a cup of chicken stock and two tablespoons of corn flour. What I should have done was brown the meat first. And possibly used red wine instead of stock. I cooked that at ninety degrees on speed slow with the blades in reverse for fifty minutes. The result was delicious but extremely visually unappealing. Also way too much gravy. I drained off most of the gravy and have it in the fridge until I can work out what to do with it. Just look at that colour.

No good at all. The specks on it aren’t mould, it’s leftover flour, really it is.

Emboldened by my success at the shortcrust pastry I made half a recipe of rough puff pastry. I put in 125 grams of plain flour and zapped it with the turbo button a couple of times to aerate it. I added in 90 grams of cold chopped Pepe Saya butter, a pinch of salt, fifty grams of cold water and a good squeeze of lemon juice. The recipe suggests using half lard, but I don’t happen to have any. I wonder if there are different grades of lard, like there are for butter? From the stuff scraped off the abattoir floor all the way up to the results of Kim Cowdashian’s latest liposuction? Something to investigate. Anyway, set the dial to the closed lid position and knead for ten to twenty seconds on Interval speed, once again peeking to see when it forms a dough.

Extract the dough and slap it onto the floured bench top. Pat it into a rectangle shape. Possibly refrigerate it for twenty minutes at this point, but I didn’t. Roll it out until it’s about 40 by 12 cm. That does seem a bit specific, doesn’t it, so maybe just long and thin. Fold the bottom third into the middle and the top third over that. Rotate it through ninety degrees and roll it out again. Repeat the folding and rolling three more times. Refrigerate it again before rolling it out into circle shape. I didn’t, as it was still fairly cold and I had a pie to get in the oven. I spooned the gravy less beef into the shortcrust base and lifted the rough puff circle onto the top where it settled nicely. I poked some holes in it and baked it for about twenty five minutes.

I forgot to photograph it in the excitement of grandparents, but here’s the last scraps of the Muffet’s bit if you’d like to see how great the pastry looked.

There was none left at the end of dinner, so it can’t have been too bad. Definitely needs work, but. That pastry needs an amazing filling to do it justice.

Kangaroo Pie

Ah, the kangaroo, such a versatile animal. Enticer of tourists, chastiser of small children – one once gave a two year old Muffet a well deserved slap for squeezing its nose, I should have gone to help, but I was too busy crying with laughter. Its claws mounted on a stick make an excellent backscratcher or a hit TV series, and its scrotum may be fashioned into a handy coin purse. It also makes a rather terrific pie.

I like to make individual pies, especially for nights like last night where a fair amount of coming and going for sport around dinner time is involved. You can just hand a pie to whichever child is heading out the door and they can eat it on the way.

First, remove your pastry from the freezer. Yes, I am using frozen pastry, I am certainly not making puff pastry on a school night, or possibly any other night either. It’s on my to do list. I find the only problem with frozen pastry is I can’t tell whether it’s shortcrust or puff if I’ve thrown the box away. Fortunately this was puff. Tradition has it that you use shortcrust on the bottom and puff for the lid, but suit yourself, we prefer puff all over.

Chop about 600 grams of kangaroo into small dice. Much though I loathe the mega supermarkets, they do stock Macro Meats range of kangaroo and what I use for pie is the bush plum marinated kangaroo steak. Stick the kangaroo dice into a small saucepan with about three teaspoons of cornflour and stir about over high heat until browned. I find the marinated meat doesn’t need extra oil, but if you’re going with plain kangaroo from the back of the ute I’d advise adding a little butter. I then add half a cup of chicken stock straight from the freezer (remember when we made that a couple of weeks ago?), the leaves from a stick of rosemary and about a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, but you can really suit yourself. Normal people might also add finely diced carrot, celery and/or mushroom, or even shredded beetroot goes well with kangaroo. Of course, then I would have a lot of leftover pie, so I desist. Simmer it covered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

When you’re having a break from stirring, get out your muffin tray and start spraying liberally with olive oil. There’s no way your muffin pans are non-stick, whatever they say on the label, unless they’re silicone, and I still feel a bit odd about using that. Cut out twelve large circles from your pastry and line the muffin cups with it. You don’t need to blind bake it. When the meat is ready, ladle it in. If the gravy is a bit runny still, take the lid off the saucepan of meat and turn up the heat for about five minutes, stirring a lot. You can then cut out neat smaller circles to use as lids, but I, being a thrifty housewife, just pile on the scraps leftover from cutting out the circles. You don’t even have to cover the meat completely. You could also cover the meat with mashed potato.

Bake in a hot oven for ten to fifteen minutes. You’re only cooking the pastry, so you can blast it at 220 degrees C. Take it out when the pastry is browned, then spend the next ten minutes cursing them out of the pans with the aid of a large fork, vowing to use more oil next time. The Horror asked if he could have a pie with no meat inside, but ended up eating two quite happily. I’m going to have to make more than twelve next time, especially as they’re rather good for lunch the next day.