Ah the good old Nigerian meat pie (yum!). To be honest, you’ve either tasted really nice ones or extremely unpleasant ones. I have had more of the latter to be quite frank, especially at parties, and you just wonder, why was this caterer so wicked?! The pastry, ends up dry like bread. Then the meat filling, well there’s hardly any. Or then finding some foreign substances inside like peas or sweetcorn – bet why?! After a few bites, next thing you’ll be looking for is a well of water to wash it down with. So anyway, rant over
In this post I’ll be sharing with you my recipe for the meat pie orders I make. This recipe will ensure you end up with delicious meat pie that has a buttery flaky shortcrust pastry, and a meat filling that is extremely flavoursome, rich, and semi-moist.
This recipe makes 15-20 meat pies.
I have separated the ingredients into 2 parts:
For the Pastry:
6 ¼ cups of Plain Flour (or 880g)
500g of Butter
2 tablespoons of Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
And 1 egg for glazing the meat pies prior to baking
For the Meat Filling:
500g Lean Beef Mince (the small pack from most UK supermarkets).
1 Large Potato
2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers (ata rodo) (not really for heat, more for flavour)
Knorr Chicken Stock Cubes
½ tablespoon of Black Pepper
1 tablespoon of Thyme
Essential Baking Equipment:
Baking Tray/Baking Sheet (non-stick)
Please Note: In order to achieve a flaky pastry it is important that you use cold ingredients, so your butter and eggs should be really cold. You also need to make sure that you do not ‘overwork’ the pastry by over mixing or over kneading. So once all ingredients are combined together and you get a rough ‘round’ shape, that’s it, just leave your pastry dough to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Begin by measuring out 6 and ¼ cups of plain flour (or approx. 880g if using a scale) and add into a large mixing bowl.
Next add in the other dry ingredients: 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and mix well into the flour.
Now add in 500g of butter, be sure to divide the butter into smaller lumps, so you will not have to overwork the dough trying to incorporate the butter into flour.
Incorporate the butter into the flour with your fingers (or a food processor), working quickly as you don’t want the butter to begin to melt due to the temperature of your hands. What you are looking for is for the mixture to still have small clumps of butter, this creates the desired nice, flaky texture. It should look like small-medium sized breadcrumbs.
After this, create a hole/well in the middle of your pastry mixture, add in 3 beaten eggs, and incorporate well, keeping in mind not to over mix.
Your dough should begin to take shape a bit now, but to help this along if needed, add in a splash of water, probably about ¼ cup of cold water.
After you’ve worked the water in, take a handful of plain flour and sprinkle over the dough. Work this into your dough and once the added flour has disappeared. You pastry dough is ready. Stop kneading.
Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with cling-film and leave to rest in the fridge (at least 30 minutes), while we work on the meat filling.
The Meat & Potato Filling…
Chop the onions into tiny pieces (as small as you can get them), I personally don’t like having visible onions in my meat pies.
Slice the 2 scotch bonnet peppers (ata rodo) also.
Peel and cut the potato into small (ish) cubes and put aside for now – about 1 x 1cm cubes. These shouldn’t be too small or too thin or else they will get too mushy when cooked.
Add a small amount of oil into a pan, just enough to fry the onions. You don’t want to fry the onions in a lot of oil as the beef mince produces a lot of oil from its fat.
Once the oil is hot enough add in the chopped onions and fry these until translucent on low to medium heat. This should take around 3 minutes.
Next add in the chopped scotch bonnet peppers and fry together for a further 2 minutes (ensure the onions and scotch bonnet peppers don’t burn). I would like to add that the ratio of scotch bonnet peppers to beef mince I’ve used will not make the meat pie overly spicy/peppery, it just adds a nice flavour and a little kick to it.
Add in the beef mince and fry till brown and till all pink bits are gone, this should take 3 minutes. Make sure you break down the mince as small as you can while frying and incorporate the onion and scotch bonnet peppers in to the mince as much as possible
After 3 minutes it’s time to add in the seasoning, add stock cubes, all-purpose seasoning, black pepper and thyme into the mince. Mix well and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Now add in the chopped potatoes and ensure all the cubes are properly coated.
Add in enough hot water to slightly cover the mince and potatoes,
Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 4 minutes. This is to cook the potatoes just slightly. The potatoes should not be fully cooked or soft as it will still steam further in the oven within the pastry.
Increase the heat and leave for a further 4 minutes, this will allow most of the water to evaporate.
Once this time is up, evenly distribute 2 tablespoons of plain flour and mix well and quickly, so you don’t get any lumps. Adding flour thickens the sauce and makes the meat and potato filing lovely and moist. (However if you like your meat filling dry, you can skip adding water and just boil the potatoes separately then add to the fried minced beef).
Once you’ve mixed in the flour, leave to simmer for 3 minutes to cook out the flour.
Putting it all Together…
Knowing how many meat pies you are planning to bake will save time faffing about with the pastry dough, as too much handling of the pastry dough will cause the butter to melt due to your warm hands – so to avoid this:
Cut the pastry dough into equal portions. i.e with a knife cut the dough in half, then in quarters, then eighths and so on until you have the total number of pies you wish to make.
Preheat the oven to 175°C/ 345°F/ Gas mark 4
Lightly dust your work surface with plain flour (not too much so this does not incorporate into the pastry dough).
Take one of your dough balls and roll out evenly using a rolling pin, roll it out to your desired thickness (not too thick, you don’t want bread, and not too thin as you don’t want samosas either).
Cut out a circle shape with a round side plate, bowl, or cookie cutter etc.
Place a spoonful of the minced meat filling onto the centre of the pastry.
Carefully fold over one edge of the pastry over to the other a press along firmly (you won’t need to seal the edges with egg with this recipe).
Crimp the pastry edge with a fork to seal the meat pies.
Place pie on a baking tray/baking sheet (you will need use baking parchment paper or lightly grease your baking tray if your tray is non-stick).
Repeat until you have used up all of your pastry and meat filling.
Using a fork, prick holes into the pies to let excess steam within the pies escape during baking. (This is so you don’t end up with soggy meat pies).
Beat 1 egg, and using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the pies with beaten egg.
Place in the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes checking quickly halfway through baking.
Take the meat pies out of the oven and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.