Monday, July 10, 2006

Paper Chef #19

The ingredients for Paper Chef #19 as announced by Kevin of Seriously Good were
corn
ground coriander
pine nuts
and something to do with your nation's Independence Day.

Well that certainly had me stumped. Independence Day isn't really something we have here in Australia. There's Australia Day (January 26th for those taking notes) which commemorates the first fleet landing in Port Jackson in 1788. We have a holiday but it's really a day for bbq's and beer since it's in the middle of summer. A more appropriate day would be January 1st, as that date in 1901 is when Australia gained independence from England - but since it's New Year's Day most people just nurse their New Year's Eve hangovers and watch the cricket test from Sydney. More tellingly, it's a day off work already and no true blue Aussie is going to give up their Australia Day holiday for the sake of a little historical relevance.

From that brief muddle of Australian history the notion of supplying something relevant would be difficult. I had to do something before conceding defeat - I consulted the brains trust, Paalo, for some advice.

True to his nature, a man of few words he uttered that immortal phrase

"meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars"....there's nothing more Australian.

Too true, there's no denying those facts. Our crowning gastronomic glory consists of unrecognisable meat product drowning in an sticky poo brown gravy which is then barely encased in flaky pastry and warmed to the point where bacteria will multiple at unfathomable quantities. Yes, you just have to love the meat pie!

And when we talk of meat pies, then the ultimate method of serving is a Pie floater.

The above mentioned "meat" pie sits in a pool of green pea mush - in South Australia, it's listed by the National Trust and it's a legal requirement when visiting Sydney that you must indulge in a pie floater from Harry's Cafe de Wheels.

And it's from all this that my entry for Paper Chef finally crystallised - Haalo's Cafe de Blog Pie Floater - replacing the green pea mush would be a corn mush and for my meat pie, I'd be using kangaroo meat and flavouring it with the ground coriander and pine nuts.

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Kangaroo Meat Pie

½ portion Shortcrust Pastry
1 sheet Puff Pastry
200g Kangaroo fillet, cut into small dice
1 onion, sliced finely
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
375ml beef stock, hot
1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in a little cold water
salt and freshly ground pepper
sesame seeds, for garnish
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg-wash

In a deep pan, heat up a little oil and then add the sliced onions. Sauté over a medium heat until they begin to soften and start to colour, sprinkle in the ground coriander and cook for a few minutes to release it's flavours then begin adding the meat, in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan and cause the mixture to stew.

When all the meat has been sealed, stir in the tomato paste and cook it for a few minutes to deepen the colour and intensify it's taste. Add the Worcestershire sauce, stir well, before adding the hot beef stock. Cook at a rapid simmer, lid off for about 20 minutes. You want some of the liquid to evaporate.

Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in cornflour/water mix - this will thicken the sauce. Let this cool before filling the pies.

To make the pies - Shortcrust pastry is used to line the tins and Puff pastry is used to make the lids.

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Don't over-fill or pack down the filling as this might cause the pie to explode. Also make sure the pastry tops have an air hole, a simple cross will do, to allow the air to escape.

With the egg-wash brush the rim of the pastry base and the underside of the pastry lid to ensure they form a good seal when you press them together. Brush the top of the lid and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or poppy seeds if you prefer).

Cook in a preheated 180°C/350°F until the pastry has browned and the pie has cooked through - this should take around 20 minutes.

When the pie is cooking you can make the Corn mush.

Corn Mush
1 cup fresh corn kernels
butter
cream
salt and pepper

Boil the corn kernels until soft. Drain and place in a food processor and blend with a little butter and cream until almost smooth. Return this to a small saucepan, season to taste then re-heat.

To assemble:

Place a good scoop of Corn Mush at the bottom of a bowl, then top with the hot pie.

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Now, they say the proof is in the pudding, in this case, it's in the pie.

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This turned out to be a wonderful treat - a much enjoyed lunch. The pastry crisp and buttery easily able to contend with the rich filling - the flavours balanced and in harmony with the sweet creamy corn.

A more then fitting way to celebrate all things Australian.

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5 comments:

  1. Haalo,
    This sounds downright viscious! It also sounds delicious and inimitably Australia. Good show!

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  2. Very creative! I love the idea of the corn mush! ;-)

    Paz

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  3. Thanks so much Kevin. It was a tortured process coming up with it but it all worked out in the end.

    Thanks Paz - the corn mush turned out surprisingly well and it's something I'll revisit.

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  4. Kangaroo! Really? What does it taste like?

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  5. Hi Sara - you can find a pic of kangaroo fillet that i've used in the past here. Kangaroo is a very lean meat (health wise, it's one of the best meats you can eat), it can oxidise quite quickly and tastes a bit stronger than beef - I wouldn't say it has a gamey flavour like venison.

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