Minced beef and onion pie recipe

When I was a young man I regularly visited my Aunty Emily, she used to make the best minced meat and onion pie in Britain, I am sure she did; her pastry was so short and the filling was delicious. She used old saucers or tea plates to make hers; they were a delight to eat straight from the oven.

This is my attempt at recreating something akin to what she made, but as usual it's my own slant on her pie. They may not be true to what she made but whenever I eat these pies; it takes me back to those days with my Uncle Jim and Aunty Em in their tiny mining village back home.

I call these 'one hand pies' because you only need one hand to eat them.

Ingredients:

500 g fine lean minced beef, I think some countries call it forced meat.
1 good sized onion diced reasonably fine.
2 medium sized potatoes finely diced.
1 medium carrot finely diced.
½ tin of petite pois or a handful of frozen peas.
1 good pinch of dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper and also gravy granules to taste.

1 beaten egg for sealing and colouring the pastry

2 sheets of pre-made short crust pastry or make and roll your own; I have to admit for this recipe I use pre-made.

I use cooking rings and a baking tray well buttered for this recipe (Fig 1).

 

In a pan that has been lightly drizzled with vegetable oil gently cook off the onions for about 5 minutes and then add the meat, stirring and breaking up any lumps that may form.

 

Once the meat has browned, add the diced carrot and potato along with the peas then gently cook in the liquid from the meat for 5 minutes or so.

 

You will need to ensure the moisture level is retained, this is where the gravy granules come into play; add a cup of water into the mix then sprinkle over 1 or 2 teaspoons of granules to make a gravy (Fig 2).

  Figure 1   Figure 2

 

Because the vegetables are diced quite small they should not take too long to cook in the gravy, you are then trying to reduce the liquid to ensure the pie is not too wet. There is nothing worse than a pie that has a soft bottom or too much congealed gravy in it; my pies are full to the top with produce.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once this is done, stand the mix to one side off the heat to cool down.

Shortcrust pastry:

125g plain flour (white flour)
55g butter diced into half inch cubes
30-40ml water (or as required)

Put the flour, salt and butter into a bowl and rub into a breadcrumb consistency. Add enough cold water to bind the dough together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.

 

Remove from the fridge and place on a floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll out to a thickness you are happy with for a pie, 2 to 3mm or 1/8 of an inch.

 

Fit the pastry into the rings making sure no air has been trapped at the base and there is some overhang over the top. A little tip here might be to use the last pastry ring to mark out the tops on your other sheet before you fill it.

  Overhang

 

Spoon in your filling (Fig 3 & 4) making sure it comes up to the top, using a pastry brush, brush around the side with a little beaten egg, add the pre cut top then fold over and nip together the top and the overhanging pastry to form a seal (Fig 5).

Brush the tops with some of your beaten egg mix and pierce the tops in the centre to allow the air to escape whilst cooking (Fig 6).

Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6

 

Place in a preheated oven 190/200°C for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown (Fig 7 & 8).

Once the pies are cool enough to handle turn them over and they should just slip out of the rings, no soft base and full of delicious pie mix.

I often have some mix and pastry left over so finish off by making pasties (Fig 9 & 10) though I have to admit that Figure 10 is made with puff pastry just to finish off the mix.

Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 Figure 10

 

There you have it, I guarantee you will love these pies and you will also wonder why the bought ones taste so bad.