I just love a good pie, and these little beauties are no exception. Succulent ground beef mixed with onions and mushrooms encased in buttery homemade shortcrust pastry, these beef and onion hand pies with mushrooms are absolutely delicious and it's hard to stop at eating just one!
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I've been making these little beef and onion hand pies for years, and they never fail to impress. Back in the day, in my corporate life, it was expected that when it was your birthday you took a batch of homemade goodies into the office for everyone to feast on!
Of course, some people cheated and just went out to the nearest shop (yes, you know who you are - don't worry, I'm not going to name and shame 🙂 )!
There were a few of us who always took homemade treats. My friend Liz made the most amazing vegetable tart. I've tried to replicate it with this crustless vegetable quiche which I think comes close to her masterpiece. Even the men had a go! Chris made the most amazingly buttery scones and no matter how hard I tried with my recipe for homemade scones, I think I came a poor second.
But I have to admit that these mini beef and onion pies with mushrooms were always gobbled up first!
They've got a deliciously buttery pastry, and are filled with tasty beef mince, caramelised onions and savoury mushrooms. It might have something to do with the fact that when 10 am came around everyone was ready for something to eat, but I like to think it was because these beef and onion pies taste so good!
And I'll be perfectly honest - when it came time to go home and clean up all the mess, it was always the homemade goodies that had been completely demolished, while you could guarantee that there would be leftovers from the store-bought bounty.
Just goes to prove - homemade IS better!
These mini beef and onion hand pies are so versatile. You can 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 hunk of cheese and a dish of chutney. In the unlikely event that you have any leftovers, you can even pop them into your lunch box for a delicious mid-day snack (or take them to work as a birthday treat for everyone 🙂 ).
My original recipe for these beef hand pies does not contain chilli, but once 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 intensified the flavour of the beef and onion. I've added chilli as an optional ingredient - you can leave it out if you prefer.
Top tip - gather all your ingredients before you start making these pies and you won't make the mistake that I did!
And this is how you make them:
What you will need
For making the beef and onion filling you will need a frying pan with a lid. You will also need a sharp knife and a chopping board for cutting up the vegetables.
To cut the pastry to shape you will need a set of pastry cutters. If you don't have those you could use a small bowl to place on the pastry to cut around.
And for baking the pies you will need a 12-hole muffin pan.
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make these beef and onion hand pies on the printable recipe card below.
The recipe as written will make 12 beef hand pies.
- Minced beef (or ground beef) - I like to use beef with a 5% fat content. You can use a higher fat-content mince, but you may find you have to pour some of the excess fat away when you brown the meat.
- Onions, carrots and celery - this is the traditional French mirepoix or 'holy trinity' of vegetables, often used as a base in cooking. The onions and celery should be finely chopped and the carrot grated on the largest holes of a box grater.
- Mushrooms - I've added finely chopped mushrooms to the pies because firstly I love mushrooms, and secondly they add an extra dimension of flavour. If you are not a lover of mushrooms, I would suggest that you substitute them with frozen peas or corn to ensure there is sufficient filling for the pies.
- Stock - there is not a lot of stock in this recipe because we want the filling to be quite thick and hold together. However, we do need some stock to ensure the vegetables and meat are cooked through. The stock will be thickened with flour. I tend to use a stock cube dissolved in boiling water.
- Tomato puree - you may know this as tomato paste.
- Worcestershire sauce - adds a salty umami taste to the pies. If you don't have Worcestershire sauce you could substitute with soy sauce, or if you are from the north of England you could use Henderson's relish instead.
- Chutney - when I first made this recipe I was living in South Africa, and of course I reached for my bottle of Mrs Balls chutney which is found in EVERY South African pantry. You can substitute this with your favourite fruity chutney. Perhaps you'd like to try my recipe for homemade Mrs Balls or I can thoroughly recommend this green tomato chutney.
- Chilli paste - this is absolutely optional but it gives a nice kick of heat if you do decide to use it.
- Salt and pepper - for seasoning.
- Oil - for frying. I would suggest a neutral-flavoured vegetable oil rather than olive oil.
I haven't included a picture of the pastry ingredients, but they are simply:
- Plain flour - don't use self-raising flour - we don't want the pastry to rise.
- Unsalted butter (I prefer to control the amount of salt I add). If you don't have butter you can use a brick of margarine cut into cubes.
- Salt and ice-cold water.
Whether you buy pastry or make your own, you will also need an egg which will be used to eggwash the pastry so that it browns nicely in the oven.
What to do
Make the pastry
Skip these steps if you have bought shortcrust pastry.
If you decide to make your pastry rather than buying it, this is how you do it. It only takes 5 minutes.
Measure the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add.
Use your fingertips, and rub the flour into the pastry until you get a mixture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
Add just enough water to make the pastry start to come together in a shaggy dough.
Press the mixture together until it forms a soft ball. Handle the dough as little as possible and do not knead.
Put the dough into a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator to rest while you get on with making the filling.
You could use a food processor to mix the butter into the flour if you prefer.
Beef, onion and mushroom filling
While the dough is resting you can turn your attention to the filling.
Fry the mince over moderate to high heat until it is brown and crumbly. Stir as you brown it, and break the mince up with a spatula so that it separates. Transfer the mince to a plate.
Discard all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan and stir-fry the finely diced onions, celery and grated carrots until they start to soften. If you used low-fat beef you may need to add an additional tablespoon of oil.
Add the diced mushrooms and continue to stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes until the mushrooms are starting to soften.
Stir the browned meat back into the pan,
Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetables and stir it in, making sure to remove any lumps.
Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, chutney, salt and pepper and stir over moderate heat until the mixture boils and thickens. If you are using chilli paste, this is the time to add that too.
This is the consistency you are looking for. The gravy should leave a trail which fills up very slowly when you draw a spoon through the mixture.
Leave the mixture to cool while you get on with preparing the pastry cases.
Prepare the pastry cases
Take one-third of the pastry and roll it out thinly. Use a 5-inch cutter to cut 6 circles from the dough. Repeat with a second third of the pastry. You should end up with 12 rounds of pastry.
Press the pastry circles into a lightly greased 12-hole muffin pan, easing the pastry in carefully.
Divide the filling equally between the 12 pastry cases, leaving a small amount of pastry uncovered so that you can stick the lids on.
Roll the remaining one-third pastry out thinly, and using a 3-inch cutter, cut 12 circles. Brush the edge of each circle with lightly beaten egg and place it egg-side down on top of each pie.
Use a fork to seal the lids of the base. Prick each lid with the fork to make holes for the steam to escape and brush the pies with the remaining beaten egg.
Bake the pies in a preheated oven (180C / 360F) for 30 to 35 minutes until they are golden brown.
Top Tip 1 - Any leftover filling can be toasted in a frying pan between two slices of bread (butter-side on the outside) - it makes a delicious sandwich. (I had enough leftover filling for one sandwich - hubby wasn't impressed when I devoured it myself - but that's the chef's privilege 🙂 )
Top Tip 2 - If you don't have a set of pastry cutters, a small bowl will be fine for cutting out the bases, and a drinking glass should be the right size for the lids.
Remove the pies from the oven and either serve hot with mashed potatoes, peas and gravy or allow to cool and serve cold. (I prefer them cold for lunch - but that's just my preference).
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Your questions answered
Yes - these hand pies freeze very well. 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.
Yes - you can substitute the butter for hard margarine, but you will get a less buttery-tasting pastry.
Yes, you could use pork mince instead of beef mince, or a mixture of the two.
Minced chicken would also work well, or a mixture of chicken and finely chopped mushrooms.
Yes - you could do that. Line a suitable pie dish with the pastry, add the filling and make a pastry lid large enough to fit.
The baking time should be the same (around 30 minutes). Just keep your eye on it. The pie will be cooked when the pastry is golden brown.
Note - if you do this you may find you have pastry left over.
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Other easy pie recipes
You may also like to try these other easy pie recipes:
Beef and Onion Hand Pies
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 8½ ounces / 250 grams beef mince / ground beef
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 1 large carrot coarsely grated
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste optional
- 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or other vegetable oil
- 1½ tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small beaten egg to eggwash the pies
- 2⅓ cups / 320 grams plain flour
- 7½ ounces / 210 grams unsalted butter cut into cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 6 tablespoons Ice cold water approximately
- Measure the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add.2⅓ cups / 320 grams plain flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 7½ ounces / 210 grams unsalted butter
- Use your fingertips, and rub the flour into the pastry until you get a mixture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
- Add just enough water to make the pastry start to come together in a shaggy dough.6 tablespoons Ice cold water
- Press the mixture together until it forms a soft ball. Handle the dough as little as possible and do not knead.
- Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill
- Fry the mince in sunflower oil over moderate to high heat until it is brown and crumbly. Stir as you brown it, and break the mince up with a spatula so that it separates. Transfer the mince to a plate.8½ ounces / 250 grams beef mince / ground beef, 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- Discard all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan and stir-fry the finely diced onions, celery and grated carrots until they start to soften. If you used low-fat beef you may need to add an additional tablespoon of oil.2 medium onions, 2 stalks celery, 1 large carrot
- Add the diced mushrooms and continue to stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes until the mushrooms are starting to soften.2 cups mushrooms
- Stir the browned meat back into the pan,
- Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetables and stir it in, making sure to remove any lumps.1½ tablespoons flour
- Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, chutney, salt and pepper and stir over moderate heat until the mixture boils and thickens. If you are using chilli paste, this is the time to add that too.2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons tomato puree, 1 teaspoon chilli paste, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 beef stock cube
- You are looking for a consistency that will leave a trail which fills up very slowly when you draw a spoon through the mixture.
- Leave the filling to cool while you roll the pastry.
Assemble and bake
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F
- Take one-third of the pastry and roll it out thinly. Use a 5-inch cutter to cut 6 circles from the dough. Repeat with a second third of the pastry. You should end up with 12 rounds of pastry.
- Press the pastry circles into a lightly greased 12-hole muffin pan, easing the pastry in carefully.
- Divide the filling equally between the 12 pastry cases, leaving a small amount of pastry uncovered so that you can stick the lids on.
- Roll the remaining one-third pastry out thinly, and using a 3-inch cutter, cut 12 circles for the lids. Brush the edge of each circle with lightly beaten egg and place it egg-side down on top of each pie.1 small beaten egg
- Use a fork to seal the lids onto the base. Prick each lid with the fork to make holes for the steam to escape and brush the pies with the remaining beaten egg.
- Bake the pies in a preheated oven (180C / 360F) for 30 to 35 minutes until they are golden brown.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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