Winter yearns for misty morning magic in clompy gumboots and oversized woolly jumpers…and Boo’s Beer Pie beckoning everyone to come and lick their chops in the kitchen.
So named after a very young boy known fondly as ‘Boo’ devoured his portion (and his grandfather’s) in under 4 minutes, this pie is outrageously easy to make (and eat) and comes tied with a shoestring budget.
Recipe for Boo’s Beer Pie
1 onion, 1 carrot and a stick of celery, all finely chopped
500g beef mince
1 tbspn tomato paste
1 deliciously ripe tomato, choppity-chopped
A happy handful of parsley
A couple of sprigs of thyme (leaves only), or 1/2 tspn of the dried stuff
1/2 cup of beef stock (I make my own but feel free to use whatever you like)
1/3 bottle of your favourite beer (scrumptious stout works best)
Puff or short crust pastry is fine to use (the bought stuff), but to reduce waste, I prefer to make my own short crust; which also means more lip-smacking grins, and the whole thing honestly doesn’t take more than five minutes:
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tspn salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
Plus 1 egg, lightly beaten
I serve Boo’s Beer Pie with spud mash and homemade tomato sauce. I’ve also whacked great chunks of bread on the side when I’ve forgotten to put the spuddies on in time.
The pie filling (me up) bit
Saute your onion, carrot and celery in a decadent drizzle of olive oil. Stir in the mince and brown the lot. Stir in your tomato paste and chopped tomato (whilst whistling a wintery tune) and add a good cracking of pepper. Add the herbs (fresh or otherwise) and the stock. Lastly goes the beer…be careful here, turn down your heat as beer likes to make a scene and froth (shanti, shanti, easy does it). Keep stirring until everything is joyfully combined then turn it down to low for 40 minutes (stir here and there over time to ensure it doesn’t stick and add a little water if necessary as you go). Once time’s up, allow everything to cool a little (cooling it means less soggy pastry come assembly time). Don’t forget to guzzle your remaining beer along the way.
Set your oven to 180 degrees.
Pastry perfection time
Place butter, oil and water into a biggish saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the flour, herbs and salt. Turn your new numminess out onto a floured surface and knead it until it’s smooth…wait ’til it cools a little if you don’t have iron fingertips.
Tip: Knead with wet hands (ridiculously easier) and you can always add extra teaspoons of water to help get the dough soft and squidgy.
When it’s feeling rubbery soft, roll it out to a circular shape with a whopping big rolling pin (mine looks as if it waltzed out of the Gingerbread Man story), to about 5mm thickness.
Putting it all together
Spoon your meaty mmmix into a pie dish and flop your pastry over the top. Cut off extra flappiness from the sides, keeping at least an inch of overhang to allow for shrinkage in the oven. Don’t forget to cut out letters, birds, dragonflies or even bovine friends from the offcuts to drape across the top. Brush the top with the egg and whack it in the oven for about 25 minutes – until your crust beams with glistening golden crunchiness.
Total cost of pie (serves 6): $13.40 (so about $2.30 per hungry human).
Keep it on a shoestring tip: Pleeease buy voluptuous veges from market stalls. The thought that so many supermarkets are now turning yummy veges away simply because they aren’t the pointiest carrots or eggiest tomatoes sends me beyond irkdom. I always challenge my totters to choose the veges packing the most personality (better still, we grow much of ours at home – guaranteed twists and knobbles)!