One of the things I do on the weekend is cooking lunch for the whole week to bring to work. I cannot stand paying 8, 9 or even 10 dollars for a bland, basic and tasteless salad or sandwich that has been prepared in the morning and has been sitting out all day. With some proper menu planning and a bit of effort to cook a large batch of meals on the weekend, you have lunch covered for the whole week!
Back home in the Netherlands I have never had a real meat ‘pie’. The Dutch version of a pie would be a quiche or a ‘taart’ as we call it. My mum makes a fine ‘kip in de hoed’ or ‘chicken in the hat’ (chicken in da hood!) which is similar to a meat pie, but then with chicken.
When I moved to Australia 5 years ago (tomorrow, it will be exactly 5 years since I moved to Australia!) I soon found out that the meat pie is one of the staple dishes of the Ozzie cuisine. Let’s categorise them.
There are the ‘servo pies’ or, in proper English, service station pies. I have been told by mr BehomeforT that there is this particular servo pie which is the best. I do not believe him! I mean, who prefers a pie which has been heated for hours, maybe even days, processed and full with preservatives over a freshly made pie?? Apparently mr BehomeforT does.... Ah well.... I have to be honest, I have never tried one... and I am not intending to do so in the near future (I’m nearly 30, my crazy late party late-night-junkfood nights have been over for a while...).
The second category would be the ‘take out pie’ or ‘takeaway pie’. You can get them at bakeries, at ‘pie stands’ at events (such as the races). Harry de wheels pies are famous, apparently. Again, I haven’t tried this one! There are even shops here completely dedicated to pies! Pieface is one of them.
The third category would be ‘pubfood’ pies. Good and bad pubs often have a pie on the menu. Sometimes it is a freshly made pie, and sometimes the pie has been made from scratch. One particularly good pub pie I had was a deconstructed chicken pot pie at the ‘Duck in’ in Camperdown. It was beautifully made with fresh puff pastry and a creamy filling. I loved it!
And then the fourth and the last category is dedicated to the ‘fancy pies’! Fancy schmancy pies! I haven’t had one of these either. Not because I don’t go out for dinner to nice restaurants, but because I don’t think I should order a pie in a fancy restaurant. I mean, surely it cannot be that good? Mr BehomeforT tried one of ‘Bert’s pies’ at the Palings stand during the March into Merivale opening and when I asked him how it was he said ‘yeah alright’. Please note, this does not mean that it was an average pie. This is Mr BehomeforT’s standard answer. The best rating that any dish can get is ‘yeah, good’. I have never heard him say that something was amazing, or delicious, or SO good! So, I don’t think that his comments on this pie should be a good measurement system... So perhaps you should give the fancy schmancy pie a go yourself. Maybe I should too...
Anyway, enough talking about pies other than the one I have made. Back to easy lunches. If you make a batch of 10 or so of these pies on a weekend, you are set for the week. Sorted! You are sorted for dinner on the evening you have made them, and you are sorted for lunch at work. After making these pies, let them cool down for a while, and then individually wrap them in aluminium foil and put them in the freezer. Ready to go.
This particular pie is a Guinness pie. Two n’s, two s’es. Guinness.
Do you like Guinness beer? I don’t. It is very strong and bitter. None of that in this Guinness pie though. I’ll tell you more about that in the review.
This recipe has been slightly adapted from taste.com.au
1.25 kg diced casserole beef
1/3 cup plain flour
Proper amount of mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups guiness
5 or 6 carrots (the perfect way to get kids or stubborn men to eat them)
2 sticks celery
2 brown onions, chopped
Lots of fresh parsley (I ALWAYS put in a lot more herbs than the recipe requires)
4 sheets good quality puff pastry (hey, it’s called an easy pie, not a fancy schmancy pie)
1 egg, whisked
Get a nice large pan, and put some oil in. Properly season the beef with salt and pepper, and cover the beef with flour. You can do this by adding both ingredients to a large bag and shaking it to avoid lumps. Brown the beef in batches, and put to the side.
Add some new oil to the same pan and brown the onions, the celery, the mushrooms. Also add some salt and pepper. Once this has been properly browned, add the meat back and then add the Guinness. The flour will thicken the sauce. Put the pan away on low heat for 1,5 hours.
Reheat the oven on 220 degrees celcius. Grease the little pie forms. Often pies are made in ramekins, but it is easier to make them in pie forms so you can take them out and separately pack and freeze them. Roll out the puff pastry so the bottom and the sides of the forms are covered. Add the filling and cover with the puff pastry top. I have made these by ‘cutting’ the puff pastry with the pie forms. Seal the edges and make a small slit at the top. Put some of the egg on top and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is crunchy and golden.
This is an easy to make pie. I cannot remember what Mr BehomeforT said when I asked him how it was. I guess he said ‘yeah, it’s alright’, haha! The beer gives a nice full flavour to the meat filling, almost a bit yeasty (which makes sense!). The filling has the perfect consistency (well, I think it does) – a lot of ‘chunks’ (vegies! Yay!) and a nice creamy sauce. If you’d like to, you can have a nice salad on the side, but I think that this pie is very nice by itself.
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