The first time I had an Aussie Meat Pie was when our Australian friend, Simon, invited us to an Australian charity auction at a pub in Baltimore. There was a drawing at the door for a handful of prizes, and we actually won one of them: a case of Aussie Meat Pies. This was a decade ago and I had never even heard of them before that moment. Simon told us that the meat pies were the best of all the door prizes and that we should consider ourselves very lucky. He was right. There were about twelve of these little delights in miniature pie tins and I must have eaten one a day for the next few days. They are THAT good. One problem is that they are very hard to come by, so you have to make them from scratch. The ones I make have yet to live up to the memory, but it gets me half way there, which is close enough for me and cheaper than flying to Australia.
Origins. According to Wikipedia, an Australian meat pie is a hand-sized meat pie containing largely ground beef, gravy, and sometimes onion, and often consumed as a takeaway food snack. It is considered iconic in
both Australia and neighbouring New Zealand . It was described by former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr in 2003 as Australia’s “national dish”.
Kid Approved. I made some the other night for Little Boy G. I had a craving for some mussels, so that’s what I prepared for myself. When I was making the meat pie, LBG asked me what it was and I told him. He said, “I don’t want it!” I said, “Oh, it’s not for you. It’s for Daddy. You and I are having mussels.” He looked over at the bag of mussels and responded sweetly and quietly, “Mama? Can I have the meat pie instead?” :-) So I reluctantly agreed and made one for him, too. He LOVED it. First he said he only wanted to eat the crust, but when I looked at his plate, the meat was gone too. And then those words: “May I have some more, please?” Hah! He even asked for the same dish the next night for dinner. VICTORY. (As an aside…he took one look at the large bowl of mussels in front of me at the dinner table and said, “Mama, you’re going to get a little bit heavy if you eat all that.” I laughed and told him I’d take my chances. They were sublime.)
What hamburgers are to the US, Aussie Meat Pies are to Australians…
My version follows…
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4-1/2 cup ketchup (to your taste)
- Onion flakes
- 1 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup milk
- 1 prepared pie shell, 8-inch
- (4) 8″ individual mini pie tins
- 2 Pre-made pie crusts
Preheat oven to 425F (a toaster oven is easier and quicker and uses less energy!)
Prepare the pie tins with the pie crust, and bake for about 10 minutes.
Brown the beef in a medium size skillet. Add the ketchup to your taste, it shouldn’t be too overpowering. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the onion flakes. Add the milk. Mix completely and then taste. It shouldn’t be too salty, but it should have a little flavor.
Transfer the beef mixture to a food processor or blender. Blizt until smooth. Fill each crust in the pie tin with a serving of the beef and cover the top with a circle of pie crust. Slice the top of the pie crust so it can breath. It should look like a little two-crust apple pie.
Bake on 425 until browned. Serve with ketchup and your choice of veggies. Enjoy!