These party pies are a lamb version of Australia’s favourite beef pie – named the country’s “national dish” by former NSW Premiere Bob Carr in 2003. As early as the mid-1800s, ‘Pie Men’ – push-cart vendors selling pies from a tin box kept warm by a charcoal stove – were a common sight in Sydney and Melbourne. Today, Australians consume, on average, 12 meat pies each per year.
- 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
- 150 g butter, cubed
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500 g minced lamb
- 400 g can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 310 ml (1¼ cup) beef stock
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp chopped thyme
- 1½ tbsp cornflour
- 1 egg yolk
- tomato sauce (ketchup), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add 60 ml (¼ cup) iced water, a little at a time, until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide in 2 and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make filling, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic, cook for a further minute, then add lamb and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 250 ml (1 cup) stock, Worcestershire sauce and mustard, bring to the boil, stirring continuously, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in thyme. Combine the remaining 60 ml (¼ cup) stock with cornflour and add to meat mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and cool.
Preheat oven to 190°C. Remove pastry from the fridge and rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Lightly grease a 12-hole (60 ml/¼ cup) muffin pan. Whisk together egg yolk and 1 tbsp water in a small bowl and set aside.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick, then cut out 12 x 11 cm rounds and 12 x 7 cm rounds. Place an 11 cm round over each muffin hole and press firmly into each hole to line the base and side. Divide the lamb filling among the pastry cases and top with the 7 cm rounds, pressing the edges together to seal. Lightly brush the pies with egg wash and cut a small 'v' in the top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and stand for 5 minutes before turning out. Serve lamb pies warm with tomato sauce.
• You can also use a storebought shortcrust pastry or puff pastry sheets that's been thawed.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3.