I have been in love with beef pies ever since I lived in Australia where British meat pies are infinitely more popular than here. I even worked at the best pie shop called Tommo’s in Darwin for a little bit when I first moved there and my pie consumption increased dramatically. I think I still have my Tommo’s pie t-shirt somewhere… Anyway, I had found a really great recipe for a beef and onion pie in one of my Jamie Oliver cookbooks a few months ago and this pie has become one of our favourite dishes to make and eat. I’ve pretty much totally ripped this recipe straight out of the book, with only a few very minor changes, but it’s so good that it has to be shared!
for the filling: about 1 and 1/4 lb lean ground beef / 2 red onions / ~ 8 sprigs of fresh thyme / 1 heaping tsp of dijon mustard / 2 tbsp of tomato paste / 1 beef bouillon cube / 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar / olive oil / ~ 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
for the crust: 3 and 1/2 oz butter / a pinch of cayenne pepper / 3 and 1/2 oz full-fat cream cheese (the brick kind, not the tub) / 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour / 1 egg (for the egg wash)
Chop up the onions and soften them up with some olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef and after the beef has been cooked through, stir in the de-stemmed thyme, mustard, tomato paste, vinegar. Sprinkle over the tbsp of flour and mix in about 2 cups of water and then let it simmer away and thicken up for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F and prepare the pastry dough. For the dough, toss the flour, butter, cream cheese and cayenne into a food processor and pulse it until it all just starts coming together. Knead a little bit on a flour-dusted surface, just until it forms a smooth-ish dough; don’t over-knead it. Then just roll it out with a rolling pin to roughly a circle that’s a bit bigger than your pie dish (you’ll need a 9 inch or 9 and 1/2 inch pie dish).
When the filling is ready, scoop into the dish and then cover with the dough. You could be all fancy and crimp the edges and stuff but you don’t need to. Rock does likes to use a cookie cutter and put some sort of animal shape on top though. Brush it with some egg wash and then slide into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes.
And that’s it. This is such a good pie, I could eat it all the time. It’s really good to eat with ketchup too! Enjoy.