Neil Perry’s Beef Chuck and Pea Pies

Serves: 4

Some nights simply call for a pie.

A few months back on a freezing Saturday, we agreed that we were heading for one of those nights.

And given that the finest pairing to a pie are peas, it was going to be hard to look past this pie from Neil Perry.

It is a pretty down-the-line pie recipe though that is kind of the point for “must have pie” nights. Beef that is falling apart, a cracking gravy and then those peas.

(Plus a proper mash where we diced in a raw eschallot – trust me, it’s brilliant.)

Open a bottle of red, put on a movie and boom, there’s pie night done!

Ingredients

1.25kg beef chuck, diced and cut into 3cm cubes, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
200ml red wine
200ml veal or chicken stock
150gm frozen green baby peas, defrosted
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 – 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c. Toss the seasoned beef with the flour until evenly coated.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a high heat. Add beef in batches and cook for about five minutes per batch until well browned, then remove. Add more oil to the pan if it dries out.
  3. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the tomato paste and 1 tbsp flour and cook for a minute or so. Add the red wine and stock and stir until the mixture boils.
  5. Return the beef to the pan, cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven for at least two hours or until tender. Stir through the peas and mint. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge until cold. (“Warm filling will ruin the pastry.”)
  6. When the beef filling is ready, heat the oven to 180c. Divide the pie filling among pie dishes and top each with a piece of pastry large enough to hand over the edge of each dish.
  7. Press the pastry down firmly around the edges of the dish and brush evenly with the egg yolk. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Duck Pie with Pomegranate and Walnuts

Serves: 6

Wow.

On so many levels, this Middle Eastern pie is as amazing as it is unique.

Starting with the most obvious: it’s a duck pie! Duck pies are made of duck which means they are automatically amazing.

They’re also rare so this is a treat. (I’ve only typed up one other duck pie at the time of writing this one up.)

You’re cooking with Pomegranate Molasses, something I am confident you’ve never cooked with. It is also amazing.

You make a custard with the rich, reduced stock that you’ve spent the previous 2 hours infusing with saffron, walnuts and duck.

You’re shredding the moorish meat of 8 duck Marylands. The same cut you use in Duck Confit. Amazing right?!

And you’re cooking the pie in buttered filo.

This technique behind this pie is unique and definitely feels Middle Eastern.

Though the effect is awesome.

It is just beautiful and served as part of a Middle Eastern feast, this is luxury.

Not cheap, not quick, though like any duck dish, spend the time and eat like the Kings that no doubt ate this pie 400 years ago.

Ingredients

50ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
8 duck Marylands (about 2kg)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup roasted walnuts, rubbed in a cloth to remove skins, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of saffron threads, lightly toasted and crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1.2 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coriander leaves, thinly sliced
9 filo pastry sheets
150gm melted clarified butter
30gm pure icing sugar, sifted with 1tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole over a medium heat. Season duck and fry in two batches, skin side down first (6 – 8 minutes), then on the other side until golden (2 – 3 minutes). Drain fat leaving 2 tbsp in the casserole.
  2. Return all the duck to the casserole together with the onion, garlic, walnuts, ginger, saffron, cinnamon and cumin, stir to coat well, then adding the stock and pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer over a low heat for around 1 1/2 hours and when the duck can easily be pulled off the bone.
  3. Strain, reserving the stock and duck mixture separately. Set the duck aside to cool.
  4. Skim off the excess fat from the stock (place paper towels on the surface, then remove and discard).
  5. Coarsely shred the duck meat, discarding the skin and bones. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and reduce by two-thirds to about 400ml. Transfer half the reduced stock to a bowl and whisk in egg yolks. Return to the saucepan with the remaining reduced stock and stir over a low heat until creamy and nearly set, as you would for an egg custard (5 – 7 minutes).
  6. Stir in the parsley and coriander, season to taste and set aside to cool completely. Fold the duck meat into the cooled mixture, refrigerating if not using immediately.
  7. Lay one filo sheet on a work surface, (covering the remaining filo pastry sheets with a slightly damp tea towel) and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another filo sheet laying it on top of the first to form a cross. Repeat with another 4 sheets, laying them at varying angles to form a circle of filo.
  8. Line a 27cm-diameter deep-sided non-stick frying pan with the filo circle, pushing it into the sides. Add duck filling, spreading evenly and brush surrounding filo with melted butter. Brush remaining 3 filo sheets with butter, fold in half and place on top of filling to cover. Bring pastry sides over filo on top to enclose and brush with butter.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180c. Place the pie in the oven and bake until golden brown (30 – 35 minutes). Remove from the oven and carefully place a large plate upside-down over pie and invert onto the plate.
  10. Wipe the excess butter from the filo and sift icing sugar mixture over the pie. Place a metal skewer on a naked flame until red-hot, holding the skewer with a tea towel. Burn a trellis pattern into the filo. Serve.

Christine Manfield’s Five-spice Duck and Shiitake Mushroom Pie

Serves: 8

Preamble: We are typing up this recipe as part of a tribute to our awesome friends Leesh and Josh who are getting married – at last – this weekend. Being awesome means they are awesome on the food front: cooking, eating, discussing and pairing wines with.

Here is to many meals in the future guys. We are proud to be your friends.

Enjoy the copper and cooking this pie one rainy Saturday. Keep the champagne near.

Love

Nat and Rob

Christine Manfield is unquestionably one of Australia’s most talented chefs that you’ve never heard of… unless you’re a foodie.

Her Paramount restaurant was arguably Australia’s best restaurant for many years and the breadth of her capabilities is stunning. One downside is the complexity of much of her work where a sauce is reduced and added to another sauce which is then reduced and worked into another sauce.

Tuesday night cooking it is not.

Conversely, every recipe I have cooked from her beautiful Indian cookbook Tasting India has been so unique, so wonderful that the decision to invest the time is simply one about what sphere of eating you want for that night.

Her food is not incrementally good. It is revolutionary good.

From Indian to this recipe is a jump, though you’ll understand my point about the range of her abilities. It is one of the finest bits of food I have cooked.

Indeed, this pie is one of her signatures and she says of it:

“This was a constant on my Paramount menus from the very beginning to the restaurant’s final night, selling out on a nightly basis,” says Christine Manfield. “People still stop me and request it. It pays homage to the French Pithiviers, a hand-moulded dome, while its filling is a nod to Chinese flavours. Where the humble meat pie holds special significance for many Australians, this version elevates it to a refined status. Don’t be daunted by the process – the workload can be spread across a couple of days and the result is a triumph, so please persevere.” Manfield suggests making the pastry and balls of duck-mushroom filling the day before, and then rolling out the pastry rounds and assembling the pies on the day of baking.”

All I can say is that after a day in the kitchen, this pie will blow your socks off. You’ll have bonded, you’ll have opened a wine at 5 and you’ll be so pleased with yourself and so you should be.

Do it.

Ingredients

4 Duck Marylands (250gm-300gm each), trimmed of excess fat
½ tsp ground Sichuan pepper
½ tsp Chinese five-spice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2star anise, broken into pieces
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 litres brown chicken stock

Mushroom mixture
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
250 gm shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
250 gm chestnut mushrooms, trimmed (see note)
1 tbsp five-spice salt (see note)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Crème Fraîche Pastry
2 ⅓ cups) plain flour
250 gm chilled unsalted butter, diced
250 gm crème fraîche
Eggwash, for brushing

Ginger Glaze
1 onion, thinly sliced
1small red chilli, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger, plus 1 tbsp extra, cut into julienne
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
100 ml Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine
25 ml Shaoxing wine

Method

  1. Prick duck skin with a skewer. Combine Sichuan pepper, five-spice and 2 tsp sea salt in a bowl, then rub into duck.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in deep frying pan large enough to hold duck in a single layer over medium-high heat and fry duck, skin-side down, until browned (2-3 minutes), turn and cook other side for 2 minutes. Set duck aside, tip fat out of pan, add remaining oil and onion and sauté until onion is softened and translucent (4-5 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onion and fry until softened and just starting to colour (6-8 minutes). Add whole spices and fry for another minute or so until fragrant. Add stock, bring to the boil, add duck in single layer so it’s covered by stock, reduce heat to low and simmer until duck is tender (50 minutes to 1 hour).
  4. Remove duck from stock (reserve stock), then, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones (discard skin, bones and sinew). Finely chop and set aside.
  5. Strain stock through a fine sieve, cool, then refrigerate until fat sets on the surface (2-3 hours). Skim off fat, discard and refrigerate stock until required.
  6. For mushroom mixture, heat oil in a frying pan and sauté onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Stir in mushrooms and toss to coat, then sauté until softened (8-10 minutes). Season with five-spice salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine and remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the spring onion and parsley, cool slightly, then add to duck meat and mix well with your hands. Roll into 8 balls roughly the size of a tennis ball, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate until cooled and firm (2-3 hours).
  8. For the crème fraîche pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs – don’t overwork. Add crème fraîche and pulse until just incorporated. Tip out onto a bench, form into a disc about 3cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for 2 hours.
  9. Cut pastry into 4 even pieces. Keep remaining pieces refrigerated as you work with each; roll out each and cut out two 11cm-diameter rounds for the 8 lids, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate. Re-roll pastry and cut out eight 7cm-diameter rounds for the pie bases, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  10. Working with a pastry base and lid at a time and keeping remaining pastry rounds chilled, lay a small pastry round (base) on a lightly floured surface, brush edges with eggwash and place a ball of duck mixture in the centre. Place a larger pastry round (lid) over the top, gently mould pastry over duck mixture with your hands, press edges with a fork to seal, then trim edges with a paring knife. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate while you assemble the remaining pies. Brush pastry with eggwash and score seven arcs from centre of lid down the dome with a paring knife, then refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
  11. Meanwhile, for ginger glaze, fry onion, chilli and chopped ginger in oil over medium-high heat until soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add spices and fry until fragrant (1 minute). Deglaze pan with ginger wine and Shaoxing wine, and boil until reduced by half (3-4 minutes).
  12. Add 300ml reserved duck stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half (40-45 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve and season with salt to taste. Just before serving, bring to a simmer, adding julienned ginger at the last minute.
  13. Preheat oven to 200C. Bake pies until golden brown (18-20 minutes). Serve with ginger glaze.

The Boathouse Snapper Pie

Makes: 5

Pre-Preamble: we served this pie as course #4 of #6 at our long lunch/wedding. It is one of our favourite dishes and the restaurant – The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay – is where I asked Nat to marry me.

(She gave me a tentative yes though told me to ask a year later for the full affirmative, something I duly did.)

Anyway, so as not to cause confusion, when we first typed this recipe up, we did it as a tribute to our wonderful friends Leesh and Josh for their wedding. Here is the handsome couple at our long lunch/wedding (which was also coincidentally Leesh’s birthday):

The preamble below is what we originally wrote to them and obviously we can’t remove it!

Preamble: We are typing up this recipe as part of a tribute to our awesome friends Leesh and Josh who are getting married – at last – this weekend. Being awesome means they are awesome on the food front: cooking, eating, discussing and pairing wines with.

Here is to many meals in the future guys. We are proud to be your friends.

Enjoy the copper and cooking this pie one rainy Saturday. Keep the champagne near.

Love

Nat and Rob

The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay is one of our favourite restaurants.

It means a slow and incredibly comfortable afternoon of great food, wine, cheese, conversation, laughter and watching the boats slowly drift by. There really are fewer, better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Of course, anyone in the know about this wonderful institution would know that the signature dish on the menu is the Snapper Pie.

And lordy, what a pie it is.

The richness of the pie. The smell, the warmth. The whole bloody thing.

And the smoky tomato? Yes please.

(Here is how Nat produced the tomatoes for our wedding: baby tomatoes, brined overnight, smoking essence and balsamic, seasoned and roasted:)

Not to speak of the obvious outcome of the Paris mash.

Anyway, we cooked this – for the second time – a few weekends ago and holy smoking duck balls it was fine. Smiles, gasps, awe.

Every hour of sweating onions paid off!

Take off the afternoon and make this.

It is pure joy.

Ingredients

800gm pink snapper fillet, cut into 3cm pieces (you can get from the Fish Markets)
5 dessert spoonfuls of white truffle oil
Puff pastry
1.2kg sliced onions
800mls cream
400mls fish stock
300gm diced onion
Olive oil
Salt
1 egg beaten with a little water
4 tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeded
80gm long grain rice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
Paris mash to serve

Method

  1. Sweat the sliced onion is a little olive oil and salt and cook as slowly as you can until the onions are light golden.
  2. Add the fish stock and slowly reduce by half. Add the cream and slowly reduce by half or until you have a thick, creamy consistency and remove from the heat.
  3. In a separate pan, sweat the diced onion with a little olive oil and salt and cook slowly until light golden. Add to the sliced onions and check the seasoning.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250c.
  5. Spoon some of the sauce into 5 deep pie dishes, lay over the fish, cover with the remainder of the sauce and add one dessertspoon of truffle oil to each dish.
  6. Roll out the pastry, lay over the dishes, press down and trim at the edges and egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
  7. For the smoked tomatoes, line a wok with foil, place the rice in the base, place a wire rack over and heat the wok until the rice starts to smoke.
  8. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the rack, combine the garlic and balsamic and brush the tomatoes. Cover with foil and cook for 3 minutes until heated through and smoked.
  9. Allow the pie to rest for a few minutes before serving with the tomatoes and the Paris mash.

Beef Bourguigonne Pie

Beef Bourguigonne Pie

Serves: 6

Sit down for this one.

For whilst it isn’t a quick production, it is simply off the charts in terms of everything else.

Seriously.

It is so decadent, so rich, so crazy good, you might only do it once though it will have been worth it.

If I tried to add it to this website’s Healthy category, I suspect the website would have overheated.

Though screw it

You’re doing this one and what a way to sign off the week!

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup plus 1 tbsp flour
750gm boneless beef chuck, cut into 3cm pieces
3 slices bacon cut into 1cm pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp brandy or bourbon
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
1 bay leaf
1 star anise pod
2 cups, chicken stock
1 cup red wine
5 tbsp unsalted butter
250gm (button) mushrooms, finely sliced
250gm pearl onions (we used quartered red onions)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 – 8 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over a medium-high heat. Season ½ cup of flour with salt and pepper, add the beef and toss to coat, shaking off the excess.
  3. Working in batches, cook the beef until browned all over: 8 – 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Cook the bacon in the same pot, stirring often until browned and crisp. Add ¼ cup water and cook, scraping up the brown bits. Add the onion, carrot and leek, stirring until they start to soften: 5 minutes or so. Stir in the garlic and parsley and return the beef to the pot. Add the brandy and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  5. Add the thyme leaves, bay leaf, star anise, chicken stock and wine, season with salt and pepper and bring to the simmer.
  6. Mix 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp butter in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the meat mixture. Cover pot and braise in the oven until the beef is very tender: 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  7. Have a beer or a cold glass of white. You’re halfway there at least.
  8. Melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and pearl onions and cook, stirring until browned: 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the the mushrooms and onions to the beef stew, cover pot and return to the oven. Cook until the onions are very tender: 25 – 30 minutes. Remove the stew from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Grease a large casserole/pie dish. Cover the insides with pastry to create a base, allowing for overhang to support the top of the pie. Fill with the stew. Drap pastry over the filling and complete the pie. Brush with the egg.
  11. Bake until the crust is deep golden brown: 30 – 35 minutes.

Beef and curry pie

Serves: 6

When Nat says ‘type this up’, it means we have a winner.

And this is truly a comfort food, bangers-and-mash winner.

For two reasons.

Firstly, because when I buy a pie, I always look for the curry beef.

Sure, a beef and mushroom pie is almost always amazing and sure, beef curry pies from a patisserie are usually not that great.

But they’re curry. And beef mince.

And there you have reason two.

This beef curry pie is amazing.

Simple yes, comfortable yes, world-changing no, but amazing nonetheless.

I had lunch at Mercardo in Sydney today and there was no end to the wonderful tasting plates and pops of flavour and so forth.

Give me a good damn curry pie however… and you’ve got me.

Ingredients

500gm (extra lean) mince
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
12 tbsp water
1 cup frozen (baby) peas
Puff pastry; 2 – 3 sheets
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. Mix together the beef, soy sauce, sugar and salt until well combined
  3. Heat a heavy saucepan, medium heat and ten add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the beef until browned and all the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Reserve the beef.
  5. In the saucepan, heat the oil over a low-medium heat and add the onion, stirring until softened; 5 – 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are translucent. Add water if the pan dries out, scraping any brown bits from the bottom. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Return the beef and the the peas to the pan, stir to combine and then cool, stirring the mixture every so often. 30 minutes or so.
  7. Fill a half-size casserole dish with the mixture and then cover with the pastry sheets.
  8. Brush with the egg wash and cook for 30 minutes until golden and puffed.
  9. Enjoy the comfort.

Chicken Balti Pies

Serves: 4

An interesting story behind these pies.

They were invented by an English food company, Shire Foods in 1997. Sold at football games, sales of the pies exploded; according to Wikipedia, the pies have a cult status and clubs including Manchester have Shire Foods as their exclusive pie supplier.

Any why not?!

Anyone who brings together a spicy chicken curry and puff pastry is a genius. Genius, just like these pies.

Which of course begs the question, why aren’t all curries covered in pastry?

Start with this pie and you’ll ask the same question.

(The original recipe asked to make individual pies. We made one large pie. Obviously, up to you so have kept the pastry/pie step pretty loose…)

Ingredients

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
3 tsp garam masala
4 cardamom pods
1kg chicken thigh cut into 3 cm pieces
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 long green chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
10 curry leaves
375ml (1 ½ cups) chicken stock
1 tbsp plain flour
6 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp nigella seeds
Buttered peas and ketchup to serve

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add spices and stir for 1 minute, then add the chicken, tomato paste and chilli and cook, stirring to coat in spices for 6 minutes or until the chicken is browned all over.
  2. Add curry leaves and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the stock has almost completely reduced; you are ultimately after a thick pie gravy. Add flour and stir for 1 minute until thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line your pie trays or casserole dish with puff pastry; fill with the pie mixture. Complete your pie by covering and sealing with the remaining puff pastry. Brush with the egg wash and scatter with nigella seeds.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  5. BOOM!