Looking for some dinner inspiration in a haphazard collection of recipes from my nearest and dearest, I came across my Aunt Glenda’s famous meat pie recipe. I’d never made it before myself but my mouth was watering just thinking about it, as I reminisced on summers spent down the Coast (the Goldie, that is) and the feasts we’d share with family, friends and anyone else who happened to pop over.
Scanning the ingredients – steak, pepper, stock – got me thinking. Could there possibly be a beer out there to give this pie a new slant, without taking away from the flavourful, meaty beauty of it already? Some more inspiration was needed…
Opening the ‘cellar’ door, who should be there to greet me but Brewcult’s Pepper Steak Porter. Maybe, just maybe, it could be the beer to pull it off. I had to try.
The minced steak filling is lent a hearty richness and subtle roastiness from the beer’s smoked malt backbone, while its robust pepper characters go hand in hand with the freshly cracked black pepper of the pie. I’m overjoyed with how well the flavours came together and complimented one another, and even more so at not completely cocking up my aunt’s recipe. But don’t just take my word for it – go on, give it a burl.
It also makes cooking a hell of a lot more fun when it’s a ‘one for me, one for the pie’ kind of deal.
What you need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 500g lean minced steak
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup Brewcult Pepper Steak Porter*
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn flour
- 1/4 cup water, extra
For the base:
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 30g beef dripping
For the pie top:
- 2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
What to do:
1. Heat oil over medium heat and add onions, cooking until softened. Add the minced steak and cook, stirring, until well browned.
2. Add crumbled stock cube, salt, pepper, porter and water. Stir until boiling then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile combine cornflour with the extra water. Remove the filling from the heat and stir through the cornflour mixture. Continue stirring until it thickens. Set aside to cool and start on the pie base.
For the base:
1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Place water and dripping in a saucepan and heat over low heat until dripping has melted. Pour into dry ingredients and stir with a flat-bladed knife until combined.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough lightly until smooth. Roll out pastry to line a 20cm pie plate.** Place into greased pie plate.
3. Fill with the cooled meat filling and finish with the pie top.
For the pie top:
1. Combine egg yolk and water and brush the edges of the pie base. Cover pie with a square of puff pastry and cut off edges so you have a nicely rounded pie.***
2. Using a fork, squish down the edges so your pie doesn’t blow its top. Brush top with the egg mixture and using a knife make a couple of slits in the top to allow any surplus hot air to escape.
3. Bake in a hot oven (200 degrees C) for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top, then reduce heat to moderate (180 degrees C) and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
Serve as desired. If reheating, place in a slow oven (about 150 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes – that way the pastry will be nice and crispy.
*If you can’t get your hands on this, try a lightly smoked porter.
**Full disclosure: I only had a 24cm pie plate so my pie looks a little bit empty.
***I had to use two squares because of the above-mentioned larger-sized pie plate.