Slow Cooked Beef Pies

A wholesome, chunky, slow cooked pie makes the perfect dinner or weekend lunch, when the weather is cooler.

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It is so amazing how cooking a cheaper cut of meat for hours on end can turn into the most tender, flavoursome, melt in your mouth meal. Cheaper cuts of meat have higher levels of the protein collagen, which can be quite tough, but when slow cooked, the collagen is broken down into gelatin, which gives a much smoother mouth feel. I have used chuck steak for this this pie, but cuts such as skirt steak, gravy beef or shin would all work well.

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Homemade pies are well received in our household and the majority of the time the kids eat them without any fuss. These beef pies are rich and full of flavour and, if I must say so myself, one of the best pies I’ve tasted. If you wanted to add more veggies into this pie, potato or sweet potato would work well, as would some zucchini. I personally would prefer to leave it as it is and have a side salad for some extra veg.

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I have a pie maker, which makes the whole pie making process much simpler. It involves simply cutting out some pastry for the bottom, placing it in the pie maker, adding some filling and then adding the piece of pastry to the top. Think of a toasted sandwich maker but with a pie hole cut out and that’s what it is. It also meals that if you make more than you need for a particular meal, you can reheat the individual pies in the pie maker in about 5 minutes, rather than the best part of an hour in the oven, achieving perfectly crispy pastry every time. An investment well worth making!

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These pies can be made in a batch and frozen, then re-heated for another meal at a later date.

I hope you enjoy these pies as much as I do. xx

Ingredients:

Makes 6-7 small pies or 1-2 large pies

  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1kg chuck steak
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 sticks celery, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • Puff pastry – 1 sheet for family sized pie, 6 sheets for individual pies
  • 1 egg yolk (for family sized pie)

Method:

  1. Heat a medium fry pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the steak and brown each side for 3-4 minutes. *If your slow cooker has a sear function, do this step in the slow cooker.
  2. Once browned, place beef into the slow cooker and add the vegetables, herbs, garlic, wine, tomato paste and stock. Mix as best you can to roughly combine. Turn slow cooker to low heat and cook for 7-8 hours, stirring once or twice during this time (stirring is not essential).
  3. Once the cooking time has lapsed, gently pull the beef apart and mix to spread evenly through the mixture.
  4. At this point, you may need to thicken the mixture slightly to make it more of a gravy. To do this, you can either add some flour or evaporate some of the liquid.
  5. To evaporate some of the liquid, you can set your slow cooker to a higher setting and remove the lid and allow it to simmer until the sauce thickens.
  6. To make it more of a gravy, take about 1/2 a cup of the liquid out of the slow cooker and place into a small bowl, add the 2 tbs of flour and mix to form a paste. Add the paste back into the bulk mixture and mix to combine.
  7. PIE MAKER: If you have a pie maker, turn it on and cut out the pastry circles, place the bottom piece of pastry in the pie maker, add ~1/2 a cup of filling and then add top piece of pastry. Repeat with remaining pies. Cook until pastry is crispy.
  8. OVEN: Turn the oven on to 200°C and prepare a pie dish. Place filling into pie dish and brush the rim of the dish with some egg yolk to help the pastry to stick. Drape the sheet of pastry over the top and trim around the edges. Brush the top with remaining egg yolk and place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
  9. The pies will keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and will freeze well for up to 3 months.

Lamb and Silverbeet Pies

This pie is a combination of a shepherds pie, a gozleme and a potato bake. I did set out to make more of a gozleme with lamb, but then the thought of sliced up crispy potato on top was too good to leave out.

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A couple of years ago, I would rarely cook with silverbeet. This all changed about 18 months ago when we decided to plant some rainbow chard (colourful silverbeet) in the garden to make it look pretty, then all of a sudden we were inundated with silverbeet, so I started googling and experimenting and getting creative.

The filling itself does not look overly appetising, but it sure does taste good!

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As far as the kids go with this one, the inclusion of the currants and feta seem to assist in getting at least half of their dinner into them, which is a good start. Oh, and the sweet potato and potato always get eaten. I will continue to persist because the flavours are great and it would make me really happy if they learn to love this, cos we do!

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This is a relatively simple dish and can be made in advance and heated to brown the potato just before eating.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 400g lamb mince
  • 1 tbs sweet paprika
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bunch silverbeet, stalks trimmed and leaves chopped
  • 100g feta
  • 300g reduced fat ricotta
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs currants
  • 1 tbs pine nuts
  • 1 medium potato
  • 200g sweet potato
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Peel sweet potato and potato and add to boiling water. Cook for ~10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C and prepare a pie dish.
  3. Heat large frypan with a lid over medium heat. Add oil, and when hot add onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent.
  4. Add lamb and cook for 5-6 minutes or until brown, breaking up the large pieces.
  5. Add spices and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon zest, juice and silverbeet and mix to combine, place the lid on and cook until silver beet begins to wilt. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Rehydrate the currants by pouring boiling water over them until they are just covered, leave to sit for 10 minutes.
  8. Toast the pine nuts in a small fry pan until starting to brown.
  9. Add ricotta, feta, pine nuts, currants and salt and pepper to lamb mixture and mix well. Place into prepared pie dish.
  10. Thinly slice the potato and sweet potato and arrange on top of the filling. Add salt and pepper if desired and spray with olive oil.
  11. Cook for ~45 minutes or until the potato starts to brown.