The truth about meat pies

Very few meat pies are tasty or packed with meat, while the majority are a very unappetising prospect.
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04.Home-made meat pie recipe

The beauty of making your own pies is that you know what’s going in there and you won’t get any nasty surprises when you bite into them. Our recipe has less sodium than the pies we analysed, providing you make your own stock. However, it doesn’t fare any better for total and saturated fats. Keep in mind that the fat comes predominantly from the pastry and you can lower the amount by making your own pastry. Once the filling is made, you can either freeze the left-over meat or make up the pies and freeze them uncooked, so they’re ready to bake.

Make a meal of it – serve the pies with vegetables like potatoes, carrots and broccoli or make a fresh salad. To retain the most nutrients, stir-fry, steam or microwave the vegetables rather than boiling them. Adding a small amount of oil to the preparation of the vegetables can also enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E and K). However, keep in mind that, once you start to put salt on your vegies and butter or gravy on your potatoes, you’ll compromise the nutritional quality of the meal. Once the filling is cooked, it makes for a quick, easy and, most importantly, tasty meal.

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Ingredients (makes 12 single serve pies)

• 1 tablespoon (tbsp) olive oil
• 1 large brown onion, finely chopped home-made meat pies
• 1 clove garlic
• 1kg lean beef mince
• 1 bay leaf
• 600ml beef stock
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ cup red wine (optional)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme
• 3 tbsp cornflour, made into a paste with cold water
• 4 sheets frozen, ready-rolled 25% reduced-fat shortcrust pastry, thawed
• 3 sheets frozen, 25% reduced-fat puff pastry, thawed
• 1 egg, beaten


1. Preheat oven to 220°C, using the top and bottom element as well as the fan.

2. Grease 12 pie pans (8cm x 11cm diameter) or a 12-cup large muffin pan.

3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for three minutes or until soft.

4. Add mince and cook until browned.

5. Add bay leaf, stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, salt and pepper and thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour with the lid on.

6. Pour cornflour paste into meat mixture, stir until mixture thickens, remove from heat and cool.

7. For the base, cut out shortcrust pastry to the desired shape of the baking dish (cut out pastry 3cm larger in diameter than the pie pan diameter for the overhang). Press into pie pan. Fill with 3 tablespoons of mince. Brush rims with egg.

8. Cut pastry top from the puff pastry (use the diameter of the pie pans to cut around). Place over meat. Press to seal. Trim. Brush with egg.

9. Place pies onto hot tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

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