(Published in Flava 2015, issue 2)
By Joanna Lewis
Think “pie” and likely a sweet dish will come to mind. However, a delicious flaky pie crust pairs just as well with a savory filling. Exquisite as a stand-alone main course, or served alongside other dishes for a tasty spread for entertaining, savory pies are a fabulous one-dish wonder. Indeed, there’s nothing quite as comforting than the marriage of meat and pastry in a mouthwatering pie.
Satisfyingly filling, tasty and easy to make, fillings run the gamut – from the more traditional to the truly creative. Indeed, almost any filling works well in a pie so don’t be afraid to experiment. Pies are also a great way to use cheaper cuts of meats – such as oxtail or skirt steak. Just be sure to braise the meats long and slow to ensure melt-in-the-mouth meat.
South West Collective has recently started “Pie Day Friday” offering a selection of home-cooked, fresh out-of-the-oven pies.
The café/bar located at Harbour Place, George Town, offers six different varieties each week, ensuring something new on each visit.
“We take pie pretty seriously,” owner Lachie Hewitt says. “We are the only place on island that does this and we take pride in bringing something old but new to the island.”
As with all the food at South West Collective, Lachie strives to use local ingredients wherever possible in the pies.
“I especially love using local pork and local eggs, it really does stand out in the flavor and texture of the pies,” Lachie explains.
Amongst some of the most popular pies at South West Collective are the pork mushroom and cheese, and the curry chicken. Lachie has also recently added a Mexican-inspired pie which has been a big hit with customers who like something with a bit of spice.
When it comes to making a pie, Lachie’s top tip is to keep it simple and use quality ingredients.
“Source good ingredients and always season well,” Lachie says. “You also can’t go wrong with the right condiments as well. We really pride ourselves on making all our sauces from scratch. I love pairing our pies with homemade tomato relish, spicy mango chutney or our homemade Korean hot sauce, which goes particularly well with our pork pie.”
Mince and cheese pie
(Courtesy of South West Collective)
Top tip: Make the filling the day before. This gives the flavors ample time to mingle and develop for a truly tasty pie.
Makes 1 large pie
Dash of olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound lean beef mince
1/3 cup plain flour
¾ cup beef stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons Vegemite
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup grated cheese
Egg wash and pastry
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the mince meat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until browned. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add half the beef stock, stirring constantly. Once absorbed, slowly add the remaining stock and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato puree, Vegemite and vinegar. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before filling the pies.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry and cut to 4 millimeters thick and cut in half. Use one half to line the pie dish and trim edges. Allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Reserve the remaining pastry for the pie lid. Fill the pastry-lined tin with the pie filling to the rim. Top the pie with the grated cheese. Paint the rim of the pastry-lined tin with the egg wash. Lay the pastry lid on top and firmly press down on the edges with your fingers. Trim any overhanging pastry with scissors or a sharp knife and then pierce the center of the pie several times. Glaze the lid with the egg wash and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Enjoy fresh from the oven.