Meat pies have been around since 9500 BC according to Wikipedia. Other sites have it making an entrance much earlier than that. Whenever it made an appearance it’s original purpose was to preserve the meat. Meat was wrapped in a hard flour pocket wrapped several inches thick and baked under hot coals until harden. Amazingly, the pastry was not meant to be eaten. Throwing away the pastry of today’s meat pie would be a travesty. It is that buttery flaky crust baked golden brown that defines today’s meat pie.
The meat pie crust can be an elusive beast. You want a light and flaky crust but it has to hold up in the baking process encrusting the meat with out breaking. I have tried and been disappointed with so many crust until perfecting this one. It is easy to make and forms into a light and pliable ball that is easy to work with. But, best of all it wraps around the meat giving a stable foundation and bakes up perfectly. The secret to any crust is very cold butter and not overworking the pastry. It is not a bread you do not need to knead it. Just lightly form the dough into a round and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling it out to bring the butter back to a solid.
The meat can be anything from pork, beef, game, lamb, duck, rabbit, or fowl. You can add veggies, beans, and even fruits, but keep the focus on the meat. This is not a pot pie with thick gravies or stews. The big difference between pot pies and meat pies is that meat pies are fully enclosed, with a top and bottom crust or a folded-over pastry, and the filling is thick, never soupy.
No matter how humble or elegant, a savory meat pie is comforting fare to be sure. Enjoy!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, chilled and diced
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 pounds sirloin steak, chilled and diced cut into large cubes
- 2 tablespoons COFarms Steak Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 sprigs of fresh oregano
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1½ cups dark ale
- 1 cup beef stock
- Generously season the steak with our steak seasoning and set aside.
- In a food processor bowl, pulse the flour and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. In a sperate bowl, whisk together the egg and water. While on pulse, slowly add the water mixture through the feed tube until mixture forms a tight ball. You might not need all of the water. Remove from bowl and from into a round. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, gently heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until soft, about for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, or until the garlic is fragrant. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the stew meat to the pan along with the remaining oil, increase the heat and brown all over, working in batches if necessary.
- Place the meat, onion, and garlic into a pressure cooker. Add the Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and bay leaf, pour over the ale and stock. Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and sprigs. Transfer the pie filling to a bowl to cool.
- Add the broth in the pressure cooker to a pan or skillet and cook over a medium- high heat. While whisking add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour to the pan cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
- Butter 6 individual casserole dishes or ramekins, set aside. Reserve one-third of the pastry for lids, re-wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Divide the rest into 6 equal pieces. Roll dough in circles, 1/4 inch thick. Gently press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the casserole dishes. Fill with meat and spoon the gravy over the top. Just add enough gravy to moisten the meat.
- Remove the remaining pastry and roll out ¼ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter sized to fitted cut out 6 circles and place on top of the ramekins. Fold any excess dough over the top and pinch around the rim sealing the sides to the top.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for 40 minutes (covering with foil if the pastry browns too quickly) until the pastry is golden and crisp, and the filling is piping hot. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the ramekins. Serve with mashed potatoes and brown butter, or remaining gravy if you prefer.