Friday, 10 September 2010

Irene's Meat Pies

I don't need to explain meat pies to any Nigerian readers. For non-Nigerian readers, meat pies are a snack food similar to Jamaican Patties (but I think all Nigerians would agree that meat pies are better ;p). We had them during our lunch breaks at school, bought them from Mr. Biggs (a Nigerian fast food joint), they form an integral part of any good 'small chops' plate - in fact meat pies are to Nigerians what cold water is to garri. Hmmm, okay, for a non- Nigerian metaphor ... okay, got one, meat pies are to Nigerians what a tea bag is to tea - absolutely essential! Good comparison huh ;p

Despite being so 'essential', I might have made them once in home economics class at school but never since. I got my meat pie fixes from parties and Chicken Republic on my yearly visits to Nigeria and from my friend Irene in between. Irene makes great meat pies (not often enough by any means) but enough that I never felt the need to learn how to make them myself. In fact, she gave me this recipe a long while ago, after she first made them for us, but I never felt the need to use it till now. 'Why?' I hear you ask. Because friends, my 'friend' Irene decided to move back to Nigeria! Did she stop to think of the consequences this would have on her meat pie loving friends??? Nope! Luckily, I stepped up, tried Irene's recipe and realised that in lieu of her actually being here to make them, she had left the next best thing; a great recipe. So without further ado, here it is!

I'd never made pastry before but following Irene's instructions, it was easy peasy.

Makes approximately 18 pies


500g plain flour
5 tablespoons of cold butter
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon nutmeg
Warm water

250g beef mince
1 onion, finely cubed
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 large potatoes (not baking potatoes), peeled and finely cubed
1 carrot, peeled and finely cubed
Handful of peas and sweetcorn
Seasoning (thyme, black pepper, salt)

One egg, beaten with a dash of milk

1 - Measure the flour into a clean, dry bowl. Add the salt and nutmeg and stir together
2 - Break off the 5 tablespoons of butter (large spoon fulls) and add to the flour
3 - With your hands, rub the butter into the flour piece by piece until it all disappears and the flour is crumbly. Add one more tablespoon of butter if necessary. The flour should be crumbly but light. This process should take you at least 10 minutes. Any quicker and you're being too heavy handed.  As you rub the butter into the flour, lift it and let it fall back into the bowl, this is to allow air into it.
4 - Add water to the mix, tablespoons at a time kneading it with your hands until the dough bonds together completely leaving the bowl clean. You don't want the pastry too dry so it is crumbly; you need to be able to roll it out.
5 - Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
 Meat pies are all about the pastry, practice makes perfect

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC

1 - In a pan or wok, heat up 4 tablespoons of oil, and on low heat, add the onions and garlic.
2 - When browned, add the mince and fry for a couple of minutes till mince is cooked.
3 - Add a cup of water and the rest of the vegetables and leave to simmer for a few minutes then add seasoning to taste. Season however you want; add chillies if you want it spicy.
4 - Leave to cook on low heat until all the water is absorbed and the potatoes and carrots are cooked and tender. Turn off and allow to cool.

1 - Clean and dry a counter surface and sprinkle with flour.
2 - I roll all the pastry out in one go but you can do it in two lots if your surface isn't big enough. Dust your rolling pin with flour and roll out your pastry. Not too thin.
3 - Cut using a cutter - I use a large mug to get relatively small pies. If you want larger pies, use something larger to cut. I make circles over all of the rolled out dough and then gather the in between pieces into a ball ready to roll out for the next batch.
4 - Fill (but don't over fill) your pastry on one side with mix. Keep mix away from edges. Keeping a small bowl of water nearby and dipping one finger in, run your wet finger in a semi circle round the edge of your circle where you intend the ends of the meat pie to meet. This helps bond the dough when you fold the empty half of your pastry circle over the half with the filling.
5 - Using your fingers, press down on the ends and then using a fork, seal all the way round and pierce a couple of times in the middle to allow the heat to escape when baking.
6 - Repeat until all your pies are ready. Place pies on a baking tray and using a small brush, brush lightly with beaten egg and milk.

7 - Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Mari said...

YAY! Am so excited...finally! I can't wait to try this out. Unfortunately, it will have to wait until I get back. Thanks, Vickii.

Adura said...

These were soooo yummy!!!

Thanks for saving 2 for me. I think I see mine in the pictures ;-)

You're a natural Vickii, you got it *very* right the 1st time.

Suzanne Brume said...

Oh, these look gooooooood...

Vickii said...

@Mari - Good luck, I'm sure they will turn out great, you'll have to let me know when you make them!
@Adura - Lol, glad you enjoyed them. I shall be sure to always save some for you for that lovely comment. Oh really? Which are your two in the pictures?? ;p
@Suzanne - Thank you!!

Michelle said...

They do look very good. I will reserve my judgement as to whether they taste better than Jamaican patties for when I taste one. Hint hint Vickii.

Chic Therapy said...

Thanks for the recipe, was going to make some the other day but my wicked cousin refused to give me her recipe!

Nicole Peterson said...

I am inspired to make a version this weekend.

chacha said...


Kodi said...

that looks delish...I made some last yr but I've been kinda reluctant to mix the dough part recently...thanks for the clear recipe

Kodi said...

So I used you recipe and a lil twist of my own...let's just say I can't stop making them...thanks dear...

although I can't stop whining abt how tedious and time consuming the task is...

A. Posh said...

This is good! I like the part when you brush the pies with the beaten egg-mil mix. For me that signal, food is almost ready!

Zara WhiteRose said...

I'm giving this a go tomorrow - hope it turns out right

Vickii said...

Good luck Zara! Let me know how they turn out!