Hi! I'm back! I've only been gone for two weeks, but loads and loads has happened in that time! We got back from the wedding / our road trip up Cape Cod, both of which were SO AMAZING. I had planned on getting a few posts up while we were up at the place we were staying for the wedding, but got all caught up in making an army of wedding cake / food / winery tours / catching up with everyone I hadn't seen in forever! I hauled some serious ass to get a bunch of things shot before we left (salted caramel apple babka and home-made Jelly tips, uhhhh hello!), so I have a couple of delicious recipes coming your way very soon! We got back a few days ago, but i've been having some me time / hiding from the internet for a little bit just to have a wee break!
I have been sitting on this recipe for a while, waiting for it to cool down a little before I shared it. Having your oven on for 3 hours in the middle of summer isn't the most ideal of situations, and I endured a very sweaty few days testing and re testing these when it was well over 30˚ outside. Don't do it.
While most food in the States is fairly similar to what we have back home, one of the things that they haven't seemed to catch onto very much is individual meat pies. If I asked you if you wanted a pie in NZ, this is what I would be referring to - a flaky crusted pie, filled with a savoury meat filling. You can buy pies at almost every bakery / corner store / petrol station in New Zealand, and as far as I am concerned, they are they ultimate comfort food. They are hugely popular as lunch for tradesmen / builders back home, or as a quick hungover pick me up.
You can get pies at a couple of places here in NYC, but I have found that they aren't quite the same - they don't quite hit the spot, so I set out to make something for myself! I went with a fairly simple filling - a classic steak and mushroom. The filling is totally cooked down to a meaty rich gravy situation, before being assembled along with the pastry crust and lid. These can be made in bulk and frozen, or they would be perfect for a dinner party served alongside a side salad. Enjoy!
A few wee notes:
- If possible, give your pie filling time to cool completely in the fridge - it makes the assembly process much easier when everything is cold!
- You will need to re-roll some of the dough to make enough lids for the pies - pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before re rolling
- I made this in my dutch oven which meant I could sear the meat etc on the stove and then transfer, but you can easily do it in a frying pan / casserole dish set up!
- Cooked pies freeze really well, just reheat them in the oven!
- I used these mini pie dishes - they are super cheap, and my fave!
- This mixture would likely make 1 - 2 larger pies.
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Individual Steak and Mushroom Pies
- 5 cups (620g) Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 4 sticks (450gg) cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup (240ml) cold water
- 1 cup ice
- ¼ cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
- 1kg (2.2lbs) braising steak such as brisket, fat removed, diced into 1cm chunks
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 450g (16oz) button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 3-4 rashers thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
- 5 cups (1.25L) beef stock
- salt and pepper to season
- 6 Tbsp (54g) Corn Starch
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- This is best made in two batches - do the first with half of the ingredients (2.5 cups flour, pinch of salt, 2 sticks butter), then repeat with the second half. Divide each batch into two before wrapping and resting. The apple cider vinegar / ice mixture is enough for both batches.
- Place half of the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
- Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Repeat the process with the second half of ingredients. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
- You can either cook the beef etc in a frying pan and transfer to an oven safe casserole dish or something similar, or if you have a cast iron dutch oven, you can cook off the ingredients on the stove, then transfer the whole thing to the oven
- Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place a large cast iron dutch oven (mine is a 5.5 quart), over high heat. Once heated, add a glug of olive oil, and add half of the beef. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the beef, and set aside with the first half.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add another glug of oil to the pan, and add the onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- If you are using a frying pan and transferring to a casserole dish, transfer now, then add the thyme, bacon, and stock. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Cover the dish and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the gravy is bubbling.
- Carefully remove from the oven. In a small bowl, mix the water and corn starch until smooth. Stir into the pie filling. Return to the oven, and bake, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the gravy has thickened.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to completely, or, if preparing ahead, store in the fridge until using. (It is ideal if the mixture is cold when assembling the pies, so if possible, give it some time in the fridge if you can)
ASSEMBLY AND BAKING
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the rectangles of dough to approximately ¼ inch (6mm) thickness. Line each pie dish, leaving a little dough overhanging. Re-roll scraps if needed to finish lining all of the dishes, or use a little of the second rectangle of dough.
- Place the dishes on a baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the pastry.
- Divide the filling between the lined dishes, fill each dish with enough filling to just reach the top of the dish (see photo for reference). You may have a little bit leftover.
- Roll out the second rectangle of dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut a circle a little wider than the pie dish, and place over the filling. Trim the dough so it is flush with the edge of the pans, and seal the top crust to the bottom by crimping with a fork. Cut a vent in the top crust.
- Repeat with the rest of the pies, re-rolling scraps of pastry if needed.
- Rest the pies in the fridge for 20 minutes. While they are resting, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush the tops of the pies with eggwash. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. Leftovers can be frozen.