I just love a good pie, and these little beauties are no exception. Succulent ground beef mixed with onions and mushrooms, encased in homemade shortcrust pastry, these beef and onion hand pies are full of flavour and just begging to be eaten.
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Beef and onion hand pies
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 left over, you can even pop them into your lunch box for a delicious mid-day snack.
My original recipe for these beef hand pies does not contain chili, 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 chili paste instead. To be honest, the results were amazing – the heat from the chili really intensifies the flavour of the beef and onion. You can leave the chili out if you prefer.
Ingredients for beef and onion hand pies
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make these beef hand pies on the printable recipe card below.
To make beef and onion hand pies you will need the following ingredients
- Plain flour – don’t use self-raising or the pastry will rise up too much.
- 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
- 1 beaten egg
- 4 Tablespoons Ice cold water (approximately)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- Ground beef
- Onions, carrots and celery – cut into fine dice so that they fit nicely into the muffin tins. Don’t cut them too large.
- Mushrooms – finely chopped.
- Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste
- Chilli paste (optional)
- Beef stock cube
- Olive oil – for frying the filling
- 1 teaspoon Flour mixed with 125 ml water – for thickening the filling
- Salt to taste
Make your own pastry
You could cheat and make these mini beef hand pies with shop-bought pastry, but I find homemade pastry 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 (image 1) and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (image 2).
If you are using salted butter then you should omit the salt from the recipe.
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.
Then add the beaten 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 (image 3).
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 (image 4). 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.
How to make the 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 (image 1). I find a wok works well for this but you could use a large saucepan. The vegetables should be very finely diced as these pasties are quite small and we want to be able to cram as much filling into them as possible.
- Once the vegetables are soft add the minced beef and increase the heat. Fry the meat until it is ‘crumbly’ and no longer pink (image 2). Now add the mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes (image 3).
- At this stage, you can add the salt, chili paste if you are using it, and tomato paste. Give it a good mix and add the Worcestershire sauce and a beef stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water. Thicken the mixture by adding the flour and water mixture. Give it a good stir and let it simmer for another 5 minutes (image 4). Then let it cool while you prepare the muffin tins for the pies.
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 (image 1).
Fill each one with the ground beef mixture, pressing it down firmly and filling to the brim. Don’t worry if they are not perfect, once the pies go into the oven the baking process will even out any imperfections (image 2).
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 (image 3).
Place the muffin tray in a preheated oven (200C / 400F) and bake for approximately 30 minutes until the pies turn golden brown (image 4).
Remove from the oven and either serve hot with mashed potatoes, peas and gravy, or allow to cool and serve cold.
Your questions answered
Can I freeze beef hand pies?
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.
Can I use margarine instead of butter in the pastry?
Yes – you can substitute the butter for hard margarine, but you will get a less buttery-tasting pastry.
Can I make these with other meat?
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.
Can I make this into one large pie?
Yes – you could do that. Just 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.
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Recipe – Beef and Onion hand pies
Beef and Onion Hand Pies
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- ***For the filling
- 500 g ground beef (1lb)
- 2 medium medium onions
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste optional
- 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Flour mixed with 125 ml water
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- ***For the pastry
- 2 cups (240 g) plain flour
- 4 ounce (125g) unsalted butter or margarine cut into cubes
- 1 small egg beaten
- 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 chopped 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
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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I am in process of making this. Pastry in fridge and just finishing off sauce. Whilst waiting I looked at your page again and I am slightly confused. The recipe says self raising flour for pastry but your notes say don’t use and use plain flour. If that is the case the recipe should state plain flour
Aargh! I’m so sorry – you are absolutely correct. It should be plain flour in the pastry. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this. I don’t think it will spoil the pastry if you used self-raising flour, it just means the pastry will be a bit puffier than it should be.