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Meat Pie – Australia National Dish – Day 16/Dish 9

January 23, 2010

Australia is both a continent and a country.  To make the journey from Armenia we must sail a circuitous route from the shores of Eastern Europe back through the Suez Canal and across the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.  Once there we have a several thousand mile journey sailing southeast to the Western Coast of Australia landing in Perth…(cont’d below)

Todays cooking started off all wrong!  Thank goodness I did not continue the following calamitous trend:

Australia is ancient.  Estimates of human settlement here began around 45,000 years ago.  Australia was once a region with more than 250 nations of native people broken up by tribe and tribal area.  The indigenous people of Australia are often called “Aboriginees”.   European Colonization in Australia brought a steep decline in their numbers through disease.  This is an event we see repeated throughout many European Colonial conquests including North America.   One other contributing factor to the decline of the Aboriginal people of Australia is the so-called “Stolen Generations, wherein Australian Governmental Agencies stole the children of Aboriginals.  Likely this was partially due to the assumption that they were helping the children become “civilized” through religious and secular education as well as a host of other rationale.  In fact it most likely aided in the destruction of the fabric of native society.  It was not until February 13th 2008 that the Australian Government made a formal apology for this practice.  More information on the “Stolen Generations” is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generations      

Australia was formally claimed by William Cook for England in 1770 and was dubbed New South Wales.  Eventually, the territory became the site of a penal colony at Port Jackson.  Over time the rest of Australia was colonized by England with certain territories being Penal Colonies and others being “Free” territories.    

Today Australia is a thoroughly modern independent nation known for it’s culture and pleasant “Aussie” accent.  This independence was gained in the years surrounding World War 2.  The Statute of Westminster written in England in 1931 and adopted in 1942 severed most constitutional ties with Great Britain. Shortly thereafter Australia became formal allies with the United States, to which it had turned for alliance and protection.  

Australia’s terrain is vast and generally sparsely populated.  The majority of Australians live close to the seaside.  Throughout the rugged interior or “Outback” exists terrain favorable to raising sheep and cattle.  With access to quality beef produce, it is no surprise that Australia’s National Dish includes beef.

The Meat Pie is a dish whose routes can logically be traced back to England.  Similar dishes in the British Isles include Shepherd’s Pie and Pot Pies.  Fish Stew and similar dishes include a bread crust filled with gravy, vegetables and protein and can be found throughout Northern Europe where they appear in nearly every country.

In Australia, the Meat Pie is filled with a Beef Stew with a tomato base and is often served with Ketchup or Tomato Sauce on top. 

This dish earns a difficulty rating of 2.  It is very simple to prepare. The only challenge is assembling the crust which requires patience and good instructions. 

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Aussie Meat Pie:

Rating:

Appearance: 4 out of 5

Aroma:  4 out of 5

Flavor: 4 out of 5

Total: 12 out of 15

Ingredients:

1 tbsp of Olive Oil

3 cloves Garlic peeled and rough chopped

1 medium Brown or Yellow Onion, finely chopped

2 lbs of Ground, lean Beef (beef mince)

1 lb of Skirt Steak sliced thin on the bias(angled across the grain)

1 Tbsp of Cornstarch

1 ½  cup of Beef Stock

1 can of Tomato Paste

1 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp Vegemite or substitute 2 Vegetable Stock cubes

12 sheets frozen, ready-rolled Puff Pastry, thawed(Pepperidge Farms makes a good one)

2 Eggs, beaten

6 small (6”)Pie Tins & Baking Tray

Tomato Sauce (ketchup)

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for 3-4 minutes or until soft and translucent.

Add the Garlic and sauté an additional 1 minute to lightly soften.

Add ground beef and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned.

Pour mixture into a large soup pan 5-6 quarts minimum

Saute sliced Skirt Steak in the frying pan using the left behind grease till the steak is browned and slightly seared.

Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of beef stock and stir well.  Set aside.

Add remaining Beef Stock, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Paste and Vegemite or Stock Cubes to Beef mixture.  Stir well to combine.

Add cornflour mixture and stir. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 220°C or 425°F.

Place a pie tin upside down on top of the pastry sheets and cut a circle around it using a sharp knife. Repeat process to make another 5 circles — these are the pie tops. Lightly Flour if necessary to avoid sticking.   Set aside.  Save the scraps of Pastry Sheets!!

With the remaining pastry sheets, you will form the inner crust.  Lay the sheets over the opening of the pie pans.  Using your fingertips gently push the dough down into the pan until it lines the entire pan with the edges of the pastry extending over the lip of the pan.  Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to trim of the excess pastry.  Save the Scraps!!

Fill the pastry lined pies with meat mixture.

 

Brush rims with water or with a bit of the whipped egg.

Place pie tops over meat. Use a fork to press edges to seal. Trim edges if necessary. Brush top of pies with egg.

Place pies on to a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve with tomato sauce (ketchup).

   

Original Recipe Provided by:  http://australianfood.about.com/od/beeflamb/r/AussieMeatPie.htm  The recipe is a good solid recipe but I made some changes including conversion of Centigrade to Farenheit.  I also used puff pastry sheets rather than standard pie sheets in order to get the puffed flaky texture you see above.  I did not add additional Ketchup to the finished product because I don’t care for Ketchup very much.

Remember when I said to save the scraps of the puff pastry dough?  Here is why:

Delicious Puff Pastry Desserts!  Simply cut the scraps from the last recipe into pairs of matching shapes(triangles are formed easily from the corners of the leftover pie shells.)  Add approximately 1 tablespoon of filling (I used mango jam and chocolate chips) to the center of one of the two pieces.  Lay the second piece over top of this.  Press the edges with a fork to seal the envelope.  Then a quick egg wash and into the 425 degree oven till they rise and are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes!!!  Voila!  Dessert is ready!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2010 1:10 pm

    Great recipes and wonderful pictures!!

  2. January 26, 2010 6:32 pm

    Hello Hungrytummy,

    Boiled beef sounds pedestrian as a dish, however any who have had the pleasure of eating it, know 2 things. The meat is rendered perfectly and the broth is sublime.

    I was introduced to Boiled Beef when I was a private cook for an Austrian and it was a favorite request. The butcher at the time had these marvelous, lean, first cut of the rump roasts and this is what went into the stock pot, along with the traditional garnish. I was not to improvise on the recipe, it had to be exactly as always.

    Another Austrian dish my employer had every single day for breakfast, with out change, was cold boiled pickled tongue. Sliced paper thin on a plate with toasted panettone. Tongue is ugly to look at (before slipping the skin off), but rather yummy.

    Such a challenge you have undertaken, if I understand right, you will travel to all these countries and cook the national dish? Gosh, what is our national dish in Canada? The Butter tart is our national pastry, I think.

    good going

    • January 26, 2010 7:52 pm

      Hi Lee Ann,

      It sounds like you have had some interesting cooking adventures as well! I am a fan of Pickled Tongue and I like it BBQ’ed Japanese style as well. Definitely not for the faint of heart but I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite.

      As to my challenge, I will need a MAJOR corporate sponsor to complete my dream trip of actually travelling to every country. I am writing the fictional account of sailing to every country and cooking the national dish until such time as I can go incountry and have a local chef show me what I did wrong!

      I expect it will be an exciting year nonetheless and I look forward to all the feedback and encouragement. It is hard enough researching many of these dishes let alone finding the ingredients. Speaking of which, I am set to cook Azerbaijan tonight, and it is already 7:30PM. I better get started! Look for the posting soon and thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

      Warm Regards,
      Eric Ackerson

      P.S. Canada has several National Dishes depending on the province. I am cooking Poutin in about 2 months. Hope you stay tuned! Cheers.

  3. March 11, 2012 7:52 pm

    Your meat pie looks very authentic, just like the ones we have here in Australia. What you say about beef is very true, however, ironically beef is entirely unsuitable to be farmed in Australia. Beef farming requires vast amounts of water which is definitely not suited to Australia – a country of drought. What we really should all be eating is kangaroo which flourish in our natural conditions and provide a very lean meat.

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  1. Meat Pie – Australia National Dish – Day 17/Dish 9 « MyHungryTum | australianews
  2. Meat Pie – Australia National Dish – Day 17/Dish 9 « MyHungryTum | Australia Today
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