Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Studio 5: Pepper Steak & Mushroom Meat Pie

I had something completely different planned for this Studio 5 cooking segment, but I just got home from a 3 week vacation in New Zealand and we were smitten by the ubiquitous meat pies you could get at a gas station, street shop and even fine dining.

They are to New Zealand, what hamburgers are to America...and they take them very seriously down under-under (because NZ is even lower than Australia!).

I lost count of how many of these we consumed over the course of 3 weeks, but my husband's favorite was Pepper Steak and mine was Steak & Mushroom, so I combined our two loves in my version of a New Zealand meat pie.

LOTS of love went into this recipe.  It's not hard to make and isn't a lot of work, but it is a lot of time to get a full flavored and super tender filling, you will be coaxing out as much flavor as possible from each ingredient and this requires time and attention...but then the reward!  So worth it!

Peppered Steak & Mushroom Meat Pie
{makes four 5" pies, or make one large}

1 1/2 lbs Chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4" cubes
2 Tbsp (or more) Vegetable oil
2 cups beef broth

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp. fresh Rosemary, chopped finely (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
1 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup water

Short crust (your favorite pie crust)
Puff Pastry
1 egg, beaten (for wash)

Click to enlarge
Heat a deep sided heavy pot to high.  Add oil.  Once oil is hot, place about a third of the beef cubes in pot, in one layer and spread out.  Let brown thoroughly (you'll know they are ready when they release from the bottom of the pan).  Move them around a bit to brown the other side, approximately 5-6 minutes.

Remove meat with a slotted spoon.  Add more oil if necessary, let heat up again and add another third of the meat.  Repeat instructions above.  Then repeat everything with the last third of the meat.  Do not be tempted to do all of them at the same time.  They will not sear as well.  This is key to a deep and rich fond at the bottom of the pot.

After all the meat is out of the pot, still on high heat, add the broth to the pan and scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pot until it's fairly clean and incorporated.  Add meat back to the pot (meat should be barely covered with liquid).  Place on the lowest spot on your stove top or finish cooking in over at 300 degree F for 5-6 hours.

You could also finish cooking in a slow cooker for 8 hours on  low.

Carefully remove meat and place remaining (precious) liquid in a container.  At this point you can refrigerate both until you're ready to finish up pies, up to 3 days.

To finish the filling, add more oil to the pot and heat to medium.  Add chopped onions and cook on low for 10 minutes.  Turn heat to medium and add sliced mushrooms and 2 Tbsp. butter.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic and herbs, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking 3 more minutes. 

Sprinkle flour on the meat and stir to combine, while cooking the flour out a bit, a minute or two.  Add water to pot and stir to combine.  At this point you want to taste for seasoning (more salt or pepper?) and consistency.  Because this is a hand pie you filling needs to be quite thick, yet still saucy.  Push mixture in bottom of pot with a spatula, it should leave a clean mark for 3-4 seconds before it's filled in again.  You can either add a little more water if it's too thick, or mix a little flour with water to thicken it a bit.

When you are happy with the taste (try NOT to eat it by the spoonful at this point) and the texture, carefully add back the meat, slowly folding it in, otherwise it will shred up because it is so tender.

Let mixture cool for at least 1/2  hour (or up to 2 days in the fridge).

Line four 5" pie tins with pie crust, trimming off edges.  Gently spoon filling (about 1 cup per tin) into each of the 4 tins, it should just fill tin so it's level with the top.  Don't mound.

Open up puffed pastry sheet, roll out lightly to get rid of lines.  Cut into fourths. 
Brush edges of each pie crust with water.
Lay puff pastry fourths onto each pie.  Use kitchen shears to cut corners so top is round.
Use the parts of pastry you cut off to decorate top of pie.  Squeeze into a leaf shape, or place them geometrically or whatever you wish!)

Brush beaten egg onto top of each pie.

Bake in a 400 F over for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and filling is hot.
Let cool at room temp for 15 minutes to make handling easier.
Slip into a paper bag and take for lunch, or a picnic or serve for dinner with a small salad.  Very filling, you will not want to eat anything after one of these!

Enjoy! (He pārekareka ki ... in Maori)

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