Recipe video above. Aussies love a good meat pie. We love the hand-held ones because we get the whole thing to ourselves. But when you've got sharing vibes, this Family-size Meat Pie is the one you pull out. Shortcrust base, slow cooked fall-apart chunks of beef smothered in a rich gravy with a golden puff pastry lid.It's knee-shatteringly good comfort food!Workflow - I usually make the filling the day before, then refrigerate overnight. Then I do everything else on the day of serving.
Keyword: Australian Meat Pie, family pie, Meat Pie
800g/ 1.6lbchuck beef, 3.5cm/1.4" cubes (Note 1)
2tbspolive oil, plus more as needed (or vegetable or canola)
Brown beef: Sprinkle beef with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy based pot over high heat. Brown beef aggressively in 2 to 3 batches (do not crowd pot, else it gets watery instead of browning). Then remove beef into a big bowl.
Wipe down pot: Wipe pot clean of burnt bits, if needed.
Cook bacon: Cool pot, add bacon. Place pot back onto medium heat. When you see some fat starting to melt, turn heat up to medium high and cook bacon until golden. Then remove into bowl with beef.
Cook mushrooms: Melt 30g/ 2tbsp butter in the pot. Cook mushrooms until golden with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove into separate bowl with slotted spoon.
Cook other vegetables: Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery then cook for 5 minutes until onion is soft and sweet, not too golden. Add oil if needed, but bacon fat + residual butter should be enough.
Oven slow cook: Add beef, bacon, Guinness, water, stock, 1/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper. Stir then bring to simmer. Cover with lid, then transfer to oven for 1 hour.
Add mushrooms, then continue cooking in the oven for a further 1 hour. Meat should be starting to be tender at this stage.
Thicken Sauce and Cool:
Stove reduce: Remove pot from oven. Remove lid, then simmer on low heat for 20 minutes to reduce sauce. Meat should now be "fall-apart-tender" but just holding form (not disintegrating).
Sauce thickener (Beurre Manié - Note 4): Mix together butter and flour until smooth.
Thicken sauce: Stir Beurre Manié into sauce. Once melted, leave on the stove for another 2 minutes. Sauce should be thicker than a normal stew, like a honey consistency. Sauce will not thicken any more in oven, so make it exactly what you want - Note 7. Also, there will be more sauce than you expect for a pie - some gets absorbed by pastry (but won't make it soggy).
Cool: Cover pot with lid, then let it cool completely, preferably overnight. (Note 8)
Assemble and bake:
Shortcrust base: Make and blind bake Shortcrust Pastry per that recipe using a 23cm/9” pie dish, whether using homemade or store bought. Then let it cool for at least 15 minutes (stays crispier).
Preheat oven: Turn oven up to 200°C/390°F (180°C fan).
Fill pie: Bring filling to room temp, do not use fridge cold. (Note 9) Fill pie with filling (use it all, pack it in a level surface or have slight mound).
Puff pastry lid: Partially thaw puff pastry (do not cut). Brush lip of pie crust base with egg, then top with puff pastry sheet. Trim excess with scissors, press to adhere to edges. Then press the tip of a fork around the edge to make little crimps (to further adhere + decorative).
Egg wash: Brush top with remaining whisked egg, then make a 2.5cm / 1" X incision in middle to allow steam to escape (stops lid doming).
Bake: Bake 45 - 50 minutes until top is super golden. Rest 5 minutes. Brag in comments below that you made this magnificent pie. Save Nagi a slice. Then serve remainder with ketchup or Aussie tomato sauce!
1. Chuck beef – Look for beef that’s nicely ribboned with fat, as it will be juicier and more tender. Don’t buy pre-cut small pieces, they will cook too quickly before the flavour in the sauce develops. It’s better to buy a big piece and cut your own to size.Other beef cuts that can be used: 1.3kg / 2.6lb beef osso bucco (2.5cm / 1" thick, cook whole on bone then flake big chunks of meat off at end, start checking at 1 hr as it cooks faster than chuck. Boneless beef ribs (but it's fattier) or beef cheeks (though pieces will warp in shape). Brisket not recommended (too stringy / dry). Do not use steaks, roasts or other lean cuts.2. Guinness - Key for rich flavour in sauce despite so few ingredients, so don't skip it! Stout is also excellent.Red wine (pinot, merlot, anything dry) - use 600ml / 2 1/2 cups and skip the water. Sauce colour will be more like Beef Bourguignon, slightly more elegant (French!) flavour. I love this version too.Non alcoholic option - Beer brings great depth of flavour to the sauce. So if you need to skip it, we need to replace it with something that brings similar complexity of flavour. My best suggestion is anchovies. To do this, REDUCE salt sprinkled on beef to 1/4 tsp. Finely mince 3 anchovy fillets (removed from oil in jar or tin) or 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste. Add that with the onion and cook per recipe. Replace beer in recipe with 1 cup of beef stock (MUST be low sodium) and 1/2 cup of water. I have not tried this. But I am confident it will yield very good results having done so for similar recipes. It is what I will do if I need to make a non alcoholic version of this recipe.3. Beef stock - Store bought is good! For this recipe, store bought stock yields a result quite close to using homemade, probably because the Guiness adds so much flavour and the sauce is more concentrated than typical stews. Be sure to use low sodium, else it will be too salty.4. Beurre Manié sauce thickener - This is a French cooking technique where flour is mixed with softened butter to make a Beurre Manié. This is mixed into liquids to thicken it and make it glossy.I am not using this method to show off! 😂 It works better and is easier than the usual method of adding flour at the beginning of the stew because this sauce is thicker than typical stew sauces. So you'd need to stir constantly to ensure the base doesn't catch, and in doing so the tender meat falls apart. It is far easier and safer to just stir the thickener in at the end.5. Shortcrust pastry - homemade will yield the best flavour and texture, if you have a food processor, it's a cinch!Store bought - 1 standard Australian sheet of store bought frozen shortcrust pastry (20cm/8" square). Use offcuts to patch up as needed (use egg to glue then press firmly).Puff pastry option (so you can just buy one packet of pastry) - line base, pick with fork, cover with 2 big sheets of baking paper in a cross. Fill to top with baking beads, rice or dried beans. Bake 200C/390F for 20 minutes, remove beans and paper, bake 5 minutes unfilled. Proceed with recipe. (Note: pastry is thinner and not as sturdy as shortcrust. But it is still very tasty!)6. Puff pastry - Use butter puff pastry, puffs better, better flavour. You only need 1 standard Australian sheet which s 20cm/8" square. Partially thaw, do not let it thaw completely before using - harder to handle (floppy, sticky). Stick it back in freezer if that happens.7. Sauce thickness - Adjust sauce as needed ie more water to loosen, or if meat is done before sauce reduced, remove meat with slotted spoon and reduce liquid.In determining sauce thickness, remember that it will not thicken any more when cooked inside the pie. So make the sauce as thick as you want it to be in the finished dish. Ensure there is a bit more sauce than you expect in the finished pie as some will get absorbed by the pastry (but don't worry, it's not soggy, there's plenty of crisp!)8. Cooling filling - Essential to do this else the puff pastry melts and it won't puff up. Do not cool uncovered otherwise too much liquid evaporates and sauce gets too thick. To speed up cooling, can spread on tray but work quickly to cover asap. Never put piping hot things into fridge, cool on counter first then place in fridge. Overnight is best because for all stews, flavour improves with time!9. Room temp filling - Fridge cold filling is stiff and thick which makes it harder to pack into the pie shell. Plus (more importantly) the puff pastry won't cook well if it starts off resting on a fridge cold filling. Needs to be room temp - around 17C/63F. See above why filling can't be hot.10. Storage - As with all things puff pastry, this is best served hot and fresh out of the oven! Can assemble with puff pastry lid up to 2 days in advance, but do egg wash on lid just before baking. Make sure the blind baked pie crust is cooled before filling, and that the filling is cool before putting it in. Store in fridge. Can also freeze assembled uncooked, thaw then bake per recipe. 11. Nutrition per serving. I never said this was diet food! Go for a long walk tomorrow.