I just love a tasty savoury pie, and these little beauties are no exception. Succulent chopped beef, brimming with carrots, onions, celery and mushroom, encased in homemade shortcrust pastry, these chilli beef and onion pasties are full of flavour and just begging to be eaten.
My original recipe for these pies does not contain chilli, but when I was making this recipe I reached into the fridge and grabbed what I thought was a tube of sun-dried tomatoes. I added a good squirt and to my horror found that I had added chilli paste instead. To be honest, the results were amazing – the heat from the chilli really intensifies the flavour of the beef and onion. You can leave the chilli out if you prefer.
These chilli beef and onion pasties are so versatile. I serve them hot with mashed potatoes, peas and lashings of gravy. They are just as good served cold as part of a ploughman’s platter with cherry tomatoes, pickled onions, a chunk of cheese and a dish of chutney. In the unlikely event that you have any left over, why not pop them into your lunch box for a delicious mid-day snack.
Make your own pastry
You could cheat and make these chilli beef and onion pasties with shop-bought pastry, but I find homemade tastes so much better. The recipe I use for shortcrust pastry was given to me by my mother-in-law, many years ago and it is so quick and easy to make, even a child could do it. Shortcrust pastry normally doesn’t contain eggs, but I find the addition of an egg makes the pastry softer. Of course, if you have a food processor it’s ready in the time it would take to defrost a roll of shop-bought pastry.
To make the pastry just put the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor then just rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips – you’ll get the same result, it will just take longer. If you are using salted butter then you should omit the salt from the recipe.
Check out Amazon’s food processors. They have a great range starting from just £20.
Then add the egg and about 4 tablespoons of ice cold water and pulse a couple of times in the processor until the mixture comes together in a soft ball. You may need to add more water but go easy – don’t add too much. The dough should be soft, and you should be able to touch it without it sticking to your finger. If you don’t have a food processor just cut the egg and water through the flour with a knife until it comes together.
Now turn the mixture onto a floured board, form it into a ball and wrap in cling film. Place it into the fridge for half-an-hour or so for the butter to firm up again. The dough will be much easier to handle if you do this.
Make the chilli beef and onion filling
While the dough is resting you can turn your attention to the filling.
Chop the onion, carrot and celery into a fine dice and sweat it gently in a suitably sized pan until the vegetables have softened. I find a wok works well for me.
Once the vegetables are soft add the minced beef and increase the heat. Fry the meat until it is ‘crumbly’ and no longer pink. Now add the mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes.
At this stage, you can add the salt, chilli paste if you are using it, and tomato paste. Give it a good mix and add the Worcestershire sauce and a beef stock cube. Thicken the mixture by adding the flour and water mixture. Give it a good stir and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Then let it cool while you prepare the muffin tins for the pies.
Now prepare the muffin tins
Take 2/3 of the chilled pastry, put it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out thinly. Cut circles from the pastry and use them to line your greased muffin tray. I find a small bowl is just about the right size for cutting the pastry.
Fill each one with the mince mixture, pressing it down firmly and filling to the brim. Don’t worry if they are not perfect, once the pies go in the oven, the baking process will even out any imperfections.
Now take the remaining 1/3 of the dough and use it to make lids for your pies. I used a smaller cutter for the lids. Moisten the edges of the pies with milk, put the lids on and use a fork to seal the edges. Brush with beaten egg and then prick with a fork to allow steam to escape whilst they are baking.
Place the muffin tray in a preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until they pies turn golden brown.
Can I freeze them?
Yes – these beef and onion pasties freeze very well. I let them cool and then pack them in a suitable container and freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat, let them defrost at room temperature and then pop them in a hot oven for 10 minutes. This way the pastry crisps up again. I wouldn’t heat them in a microwave because the pastry will go soggy. I haven’t tried freezing them uncooked, because that would mean freezing them in the muffin pan.
Can I use margarine instead of butter in the pastry?
Yes – you can substitute the butter for margarine.
Beef and Onion Pasties
- ***For the filling
- 500 g minced beef
- 2 medium onions
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Tomate paste
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste optional
- 1 stock cube
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Flour mixed with 125 ml water
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- ***For the pastry
- 250 g or 2 cups self-raising flour
- 125 g unsalted butter or margarine cut into cubes
- 1 egg
- 4 Tablespoons Ice cold water (approximately)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the pastry
- Place the flour, salt and margarine in a food processor and process briefly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Add the egg and water and process until the mixture comes together in a soft ball. You may need extra water if the mixture is too dry
- Tip out onto a floured board and form into a ball.
- Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill
For the filling
- Chop the onions, carrots and celery into 1 cm pieces
- Pour the olive oil into a large pan and add the vegetables and allow to sweat gently until soft.
- Add the beef mince and fry until the mince looks ‘crumbly’ and is no longer pink
- Add the mushrooms and fry for another 2 minutes
- Add the salt, Worcestershire sauce, chilli and tomato paste and the crumbled stock cube
- Add the flour and water mixture
- Mix well and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick you may add a drop more water.
To assemble and bake
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F, gas mark 6)
- Lightly grease a muffin tin
- Place 2/3 of the pastry onto a floured surface and roll out thinly
- Cut rounds of pastry and use to line the muffin tin
- Fill each pastry shell with the cooled meat mixture, pressing down firmly
- Place the remaining 1/3 of the pastry onto the floured surface and roll out thinly
- Using a small cutter, cut lids for the pies
- Moisten the edges of the pastry with milk, put the lids on the pies and crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
- Brush with beaten egg and prick the lids with a fork to allow the steam to escape
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden brown
If you enjoyed these pies you may like to try some of my other recipes:
Did you make this recipe? Why not pin it for later.
Til next time – happy cooking – VJ xxx