It’s been a while since I posted on Pie Friday, so this week is a bit of a catch up – with not 1, but 3 pies! An aussie classic, a greek favourite and a moroccan pie that is sure to become a new family favourite.
The cooler weather that sends us clambering for some good old comfort food is coming to an end here in Australia (although Melbourne never really shrugs it off completely). So the pie and soup recipes may be a little less frequent around here from now on, after I post the last Soup Sunday for the season of course. If you are just coming into the cooler temperatures, take a look at my Pie Friday and Soup Sunday archives.
First up is the Australian classic meat pie. My family was a bit shocked when I made this pie as I don’t eat meat pies. Very un-Australian of me I know, but I used to be a vegetarian so my stomach does flips at the sight of too much meat. The only time I’ve tried meat pies has been those little party pies, and let’s face it – they aren’t normally of the highest quality. The best thing about making your own is that you know what is going into it and, if you use quality lean beef mince, you can create something with a lot less fat than store bought and you don’t get any of those disgusting grissly bits.
This is another one from the Beechworth Bakery Cookbook, in fact I used the other half of the shortcrust pastry that I made for the Vegetable Medley Pie for the base. I’ve made it a couple of times now and it is even better if you add in chopped onion, mushrooms, peas, or other vegetables while the meat is cooking. It’s very simple to make and a classic family meal that everyone will love, even me, the person who doesn’t eat meat pies. Ok, so vegetarians may not be so keen on it! Sorry guys, there is one for you coming up…
Classic Meat Pie (Serves 4)
Preheat oven to 220C, roll out shortcrust pastry and use it to line a greased pie dish. Place 400g lean beef mince, 1 3/4C water, 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4tsp pepper, 1 1/2tsp tomato sauce & 2tsp worcestershire sauce in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. This is when you could add in some vegetables for a bit of variety. The book also suggests adding 1/4tsp Parisian essence, which adds a caramel colour to the sauce, I don’t see the need for it so I don’t add it. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together 1/4C cornflour, 1Tbsp plain flour & 1/4C water. Stir into meat mixture and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Allow to cool slightly before putting in prepared pie dish and topping with 1 sheet puff pastry. Prick the top of the pie with a fork in a few places and bake in oven for 20 minutes.
Why Should I Eat That?
While this pie isn’t particularly good for you, it is a good alternative to most bought pies and is relatively low in saturated fat. With the addition of some vegetables it would be high in fibre and you could make the pastry with half wholemeal flour to make it a little healthier too.
Nutrition Information: (per serve)
Energy 2986.8kJ, Protein 31.4g, Fat (Total) 31.6g (Saturated) 6.3g, Carbohydrates (Total) 74.1g (Sugars) 3.2g, Dietary Fibre 3.3g, Sodium 1104.7mg.
Next is a Recipes+ (Issue 14, Jan/Feb 2007) take on the Greek favourite – Spanakopita. This is one of my favourites, in fact I posted the recipe for it on my old blog, but I am going to post it here with a photo. Absolutely delicious hot for dinner, or cold for lunch or at a picnic. Filo pastry can be a little fiddly, but it is worth it for the cute top on this pie. Just keep it covered with a damp (not soaking wet) teatowel while you are working with it so it doesn’t dry out.
Spinach & Cheese Pie (Serves 6 as main, 12 as side)
Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease a 20×30cm baking dish. Microwave 1kg frozen spinach & 1/4C water in a large bowl for 3-4 minutes or until completely defrosted and then drain thoroughly. You can use fresh english spinach if you like, just blanch to wilt it slightly.
Heat 2tsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook 2 chopped red onions for 2 minutes or until soft. Add spinach and stir to combine. Cool slightly before stirring through 300g low fat smooth ricotta, 200g reduced fat feta, 3 lightly beaten eggs, 1/3C chopped fresh herbs & 1/3C toasted pine nuts.
Place 1 sheet filo pastry in the base of the greased baking dish, allowing edges to overhang sides. Spray with olive oil spray and cover with another sheet of filo pastry. Repeat until there are 5 sheets filo pastry in the base of the baking dish. Spoon in spinach filling and sprinkle with black pepper.
Tear another 5 filo pastry sheets into 5cm wide strips. Scrunch each strip into a loose ball and arrange over filling to cover. Lightly spray with olive oil and bake for 35-40 minutes until filling is cooked and pastry is golden on top. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Why Should I Eat That?
Whether you serve this as a main or side it is low in kilojoules and high in fibre. As a side (serving 12) it is also low in fat, saturated fat and sodium.
Nutrition Information: (per 6 or 12 serves)
Energy 1620 or 810kJ, Protein 26.8 or 13.4g, Fat (Total) 21.6 or 10.8g (Saturated) 7.4 or 3.7g, Carbohydrates (Total) 17.3 or 8.7g (Sugars) 3.9 or 2g, Dietary Fibre 9.5 or 4.8g, Sodium 829.3 or 414.7mg. 2.6 or 1.3 serves of Vegetables.
Lastly, there is this delicious Moroccan chicken pie with sweet potato and almonds from the June issue of Australian Good Taste magazine. It is very different to any pie I have tried before – it’s shape, it’s ingredients, the taste! It may feel strange dusting a savoury pie with icing sugar, but just go with it – you won’t regret it, I swear.
Moroccan Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie (Serves 6)
Preheat oven to 220C and line a large baking tray with non stick baking paper. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and cook 1C flaked almonds for 5 minutes, or until toasted. Remove to a large heatproof bowl.
Melt 40g margarine (or butter) in the same saucepan over low heat and add 1 chopped brown onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2tsp grated fresh ginger, 2tsp ground cinnamon & 1tsp turmeric and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together 4 eggs & 2Tbsp lemon juice and add to onion mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until cooked. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds and set aside to cool.
Heat 2tsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and cook 500g skinless chicken breast fillets for 8 minutes each side or until cooked through. Meanwhile, steam 500g orange sweet potato for 10 minutes or until tender. Cool chicken and sweet potato for 10 minutes, then finely shred chicken. Add to onion mixture along with 1Tbsp pure icing sugar and mix well.
Place 6 filo pastry sheets on a clean surface and cover with damp teatowels. Place 2 filo sheets on the bench, overlapping by 5cm on the long side, to form a 40cm square. Spray with olive oil and then top with another 2 sheets in the opposite direction. Spray again with olive oil and finish with 2 more sheets facing the same direction as the first. Spoon chicken mixture into the centre and spread to form a 20cm diameter circle. Fold the edges of the filo over the mixture to enclose and scrunch the top of the filo together to form a bit of a dome.
Place the pie on the lined tray and spray with olive oil spray. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden. Combine 1Tbsp pure icing sugar & 1tsp ground cinnamon and sprinkle over pie before cutting into wedges and serving.
Why Should I Eat That?
Aside from the wonderful combination of moroccan flavours in this pie, it is also low in kilojoules, saturated fat and sodium and high in fibre. So make it a new favourite for you family!
Nutrition Information: (per serve)
Energy 2015.4kJ, Protein 30.4g, Fat (Total) 28g (Saturated) 4.4g, Carbohydrates (Total) 25.4g (Sugars) 10.5g, Dietary Fibre 4.3g, Sodium 232.7mg. 1.5 serves of Vegetables.