There are dishes that I grew up with and those that I picked up along the way. Take minced beef pies. They are a family tradition in New Zealand, as well as England and Australia, and my husband would drive out of his way to a little beach-side village West of Auckland called Piha to fill up on his share of minced beef pies at the local General Store. My pies aren’t exactly the same as those, but they sure do the trick when you want to feed a crowd a hearty, nutritious and delicious meal. Come and cook with us!
Minced beef forms the base of this dish, so don’t be fooled by the pie crust which is easy enough to make and lends the dish an elegant delivery. The filling is made with garlic, thyme and red wine but can be adapted to your flavor preferences and pantry inventory. My final dish – it went through a few iterations – uses tomato paste to bring together the flavors. Be sure to properly brown the meat so it can develop those complex flavor compounds that will add the desired umami taste before it is braised in the wine and beef broth and then baked in the oven. And for the upper crust we use spelt, which has a distinctive flavor that works well with the rest of the ingredients. And it is wheat, although not gluten free.
If you want to try your luck at savory pies, this is your chance. And if you are looking for an alternative to shepherd’s pie, I can but recommend you try our classic minced beef pie. It might not exactly live up to my husband’s memories of the pies in Piha, but that might have to do more with being on holiday than the taste of my pie. Come and cook with us!