ARE PIES THE NATIONAL DISH OF NEW ZEALAND?
Some would say it’s fush and chups. But we beg to differ. The tasty pie is widely regarded as a New Zealand culinary icon and staple. It comes pipin’ hot with crispy pastry and chock full of a glorious savoury filling. What’s not to love?
Well, what is it?
When New Zealanders talk about pies, a tantalising pastry delight, they’re not talking about the sweet ones in America like apple pies, pumpkin pies or pecan pies. They’re also not talking about their distant relatives, the Cornish pasties, which can be found in the UK. They’re talking about the humble meat pie, which has been part of New Zealand’s cuisine since the early British settlers, with the year 1863 being the earliest mention.
The inside scoop
The single-serve portion culinary delight is just the right size to hold in your hand and eat from a paper bag. The pie is essentially eaten like a sandwich and never eaten with a knife and fork (like some of our Aussie friends). This leaves your other hand free to hold a chilled bottle of L&P to wash down the pie. The best bit? This delicious treat is a hearty staple that is perfectly fine to eat at any time of the day. Be it breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner.
It is the perfect portable meal that can be found literally anywhere. Cafes, restaurants, dairys (corner store), bakeries, petrol stations, supermarkets… wherever you are, there is a pie waiting for you. How convenient!
The pie evolution
From modest beginnings, New Zealand’s classic meat pie has changed… for the better. Today, there isn’t just one flavour, there are many! You could say there is plenty of versatility when it comes to satisfying one’s cravings. The fillings include but are not limited to; steak, lamb, chicken, mince and cheese, seafood, bacon and egg, kumara (sweet potato) and feta and potato top. Even butter chicken.
The options are endless and it’s clear to see why the humble Kiwi pie is consistently voted as New Zealand’s favourite comfort food.
New Zealand-Style Beef & Cheddar Pies
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 450-gram packages pre-rolled butter puff-pastry, thawed in the fridge
3/4 cup (100g) aged white cheddar cheese, finely diced
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, cook, stirring often until tender and starting to brown on the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add ground beef to pan and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 5-6 minutes.
Stir in salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Sprinkle flour over beef and cook, 1 minute. Pour in beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until gravy has reduced and thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
Scrape beef mixture into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, this will take at least 1-2 hours. The filling can easily be made the day before.
Remove puff pastry from fridge. Roll sheets to 1/8-inch thick. Cut puff pastry into twelve 4-inch rounds and twelve 3-inch rounds. Pre-mark where you will cut each round as you will have just enough dough for all the rounds. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Place larger puff pastry rounds in the base of each muffin tin, pressing along the sides so they are flush with the bottom and sides of the tin. The dough should slightly overlap the rims, stretch dough slightly if needed.
Remove the chilled beef mixture from the fridge. Stir in the diced cheese. Evenly divide filling between each pie, packing them right to the top.
Whisk the egg in a bowl. Brush the edges of the pastry overlap with the egg mixture and top with smaller pastry rounds. Press around the edges of the pies using the tines of a fork to create a seal. Cut a small slit into the top of each pie. Use the remaining egg to brush the tops of each pie. Place the tray in the freezer to chill for 15 mins before baking.
While the pies are chilling preheat the oven to 425° F. Bake pies for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
If you’ve never tried it please make sure to ask for it when you travel to New Zealand
spotted in www.gourmettraveller.com.au
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