In Australia, a party is not a party without a plate (or 3) of party pies. Which are just small meat pies. It does not matter how old you are – every Aussie loves a party pie. At a kid’s birthday, a New Year’s Eve party, Christmas drinks, or a teenager’s pool party, you can guarantee the party pies will disappear quickly.
Traditionally, party pies are made with minced beef. However, I find too much beef really hard to eat so I lighten the filling with some minced pork. If you are a beef fiend, just use minced beef.
Party pies freeze well once cooked. Reheat from frozen at 150 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they are piping hot. Traditionally served with ‘dead horse’ (tomato sauce), a party pie is a wonderful thing at any time of the year.
350g minced beef
150g of minced pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 rashers of unsmoked bacon, finely chopped
1 tsp of light soy sauce
½ teaspoon vegemite (marmite if you are a UK born heathen) – only if you don’t use anchovies
1.5 tbs of tomato puree
250ml of weak beef stock
1 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tlb of plain flour
50ml of cooking oil
You will need both shortcrust pastry and puff pastry. If you have the time, make your own. Otherwise, use pre-made ready rolled pastry. You will need about 1.5 – 2 packets of shortcrust and 1 packet of puff pastry for 12 party pies.
- Using a heavy bottomed pot, soften the onions in the oil. You only want them to soften, not to fry, so keep the heat low. If you are using them, add the anchovies as well to break them up. They do add a lovely saltiness but you don’t need to add them if it is a step too far for you.
- Once the onions are soft, add the bacon. When the bacon is cooked but still soft, add the minced meat and brown it thoroughly.
- After the meat is cooked, you are likely to have a bit of moisture (including the oil) in the bottom of the pot. Pour the meat into a colander to drain off all the liquid. Give it a couple of minutes to drain properly. You want the meat/onion mixture to be reasonably dry at this stage.
- Return the meat to the pot. Add 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce, the tomato puree, the beef stock,the vegemite (or marmite) and a good grind of black pepper. If you like a little bit of heat, add the cayenne pepper. It is not necessary but I like the touch of warmth it brings.
- Leave the whole mixture to simmer for about 30 mins on a low heat. The stock should have mostly disappeared. Add a tablespoon of plain flour and stir thoroughly through the meat. The remaining stock will thicken to make a form of gravy for the meat. As a party pie is normally eaten with the hands, you do not want too much gravy otherwise things can get very messy.
- Leave the filling to cool completely. If you are not going to make the pies immediately, put the covered filling in the fridge where it will keep happily for a couple of days.
- Now for the fun bit. Thoroughly grease a muffin tin. Cut circles of the shortcrust pastry to fit each muffin slot. If using ready rolled pastry, I usually roll the pastry a bit to make it thinner. I find it is just a little bit softer.
- Line each muffin slot (I really do not know what the right word is) with the pastry. Make sure the pastry reaches to the top of each slot. Add a tbs of the meat but do not overfill each pie otherwise they might burst apart when being cooked. Leave a few millimetres of pastry around the top of the pie.
- Cut the tops of the pies from the puff pastry and wet the edges with a little milk. Using either a fork or your fingers, lay the pie lids on top of each pie and press at the edges to attach.
- Cut a small hole in the lid of each pie and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake at 180 degrees (160 degrees fan) for about 25 minutes until the top of the pies are golden and puffy.