Pies, as a nation, we love them. Which is strange, because the majority of the cellophane-wrapped, mystery-ingredient filled ones that are on offer are rubbish. Take a little time to make a few pies for yourself and you’ll see just why these crispy parcels of melting meat won our hearts in the first place.
Bursting with chuck steak and kidney filling, this is a real pie.
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 kg chuck steak, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 1 beef or ox kidney, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces
- cooking oil
- 2 brown onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 200 ml red wine
- 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp milk
- 350 g shortcrust pastry
- 350 g puff pastry
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- tomato sauce or chutney
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.
Chilling time: overnight
The day before you want to bake your pies, prepare the filling. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and generously season with salt and pepper. Throw the beef into the flour and give everything a good toss to coat the beef.
Heat a large deep-sided, heavy-based saucepan over high heat, add a splash of cooking oil and cook the beef, in batches, for 5–10 minutes, making sure all the pieces are nicely browned. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the same pan, add the kidney and cook for 5 minutes or until nicely browned, then remove and set aside with the beef.
Reduce the heat to medium, add a little more oil to the same pan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any cooked-on bits from the base of the pan. Return the beef and kidney back to the pan, add the stock, thyme and bay leaves, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. Allow the beef cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease six 11 cm round or oval pie tins.
Whisk together the milk and the egg.
Cut the shortcrust pastry into 6 pieces big enough to line the tins, leaving enough for a little overhang. Push the pastry down into the tins.
Spoon the filling into the bases.
Cut the puff pastry into 6 rounds, big enough to cover the pie tins. Use a pastry brush to paint the eggwash around the rim of the pastry. Lay the puff pastry over the tins, trim off any excess of both pastries, then use a fork to push down around the rim and seal the pies. Paint the lids with the eggwash and sprinkle over the poppy seeds.
Place the pies on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden and the bases are cooked.
Serve with good tomato sauce or chutney.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury. Creative concept by Belinda So.