The most common type of meat pie is the one made of a simple rich pastry with a meaty filling, but the Nigerian meat pie takes rich and meaty to another level. Unlike the former which are baked in pie tins, the latter is a turnover pie that fits perfectly in hand. Works as a side dish, a main dish, and even a snack. Depending on how you choose to eat it. Making a meat pie is a several step process. One that seems complicated but is easier than it looks. Especially when you have great utensils to work it. The Karibe utensils set came in handy for each step. (Thank you, Karibe, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own!)
Finding the balance between buttery and flaky
The thing about a pie pastry is you want it to be flaky but also buttery. However, let’s be real flakiness often means messy and un-aesthetically pleasing. Some would say “who cares about how it looks if it tastes good”, but flakiness doesn’t equate to a rich buttery flavour either. So, how do you get a rich buttery flavour, nice flaky texture and a decent appearance? My answer to that will be ‘it’s all about finding the right balance. We can all agree that nothing gives a truer buttery flavour than butter itself, but just butter won’t give a flaky texture. Do you what will? Something that can be worked like butter but with a higher melting point. Such as shortening, lard or margarine. For this recipe, I’m using just enough Margarine for the right flaky texture and the addition of butter to opt the taste nut also limit the flakiness to just that “flaky”, not “messy”. I also made an easy shrimp version of the Nigerian meat pie a while back.
The twist of a rich Meaty Filling
Obviously from the name, this recipe calls for meat. I would say not all meats are created equal but that will be like comparing oranges and apples. However, have you ever had a smoothie or anything made with both oranges and apples? I bet yes, it’s a delicious twist that is neither out of the ordinary nor is it basic. That twist is exactly why I’m using both pork and beef for a richer filling. I honestly cannot explain how delicious it is, you’ll need to try it for yourself.
Meat-pies are also popular in other countries and cultures. Such as Empanadas in some Latin and Asian cultures. You might also be familiar with the Jamaican patty that is just as delicious.
Classic Nigerian Meat-Pie
- Karibe Utensil Set
- Pasta Machine (Optional)
For the pie crust:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (a.k.a. plain flour)
- 1 tsp salt
- 85 g unsalted butter chilled and chopped
- 170 g margarine chilled and chopped
- ½ cup ice water
- 1 egg (for eggwash)
- 1 tbsp water (for eggwash)
- 1 tsp heavy cream (for eggwash)
For the meat filling
- 220 g Minced beef
- 150 g Minced pork
- 1 large Carrot
- 1 large Potato
- 1 small Onions (or 1 shallot)
- 2 tbsp Sunflower oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Making the pastry:
- Pour flour into a deep bowl, add the salt, chopped margarine and the chopped butter.
- Using your fingers, mix together crushing the fat into the flour until it roughly looks like breadcrumbs.
- Create a well in the middle and pour in the ice-cold water, then gradually mix together with a spatula until there is no visible liquid.
- Then using your hands, remove any pastry stuck to the flour, set the spatula aside and, continue mixing with your hands until it starts looking like a dough.
- Transfer the dough to a working surface, sprinkle with a little flour, then gently knead into a round dough.
- Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
In the mean-time, make the meat filling:
- Place a pan over medium heat, pour in the sunflower oil, then add the chopped shallots/onions.
- Stir and fry until it starts to caramelize, then add the chopped potatoes and carrots.
- Stir and fry for 3 minutes, then add the minced pork, followed by the minced beef.
- Stir and fry until the minced meats are pale brown in colour, then add the spices and seasonings (salt, paprika, thyme). Stir together.
- Also, add the heavy cream, stir together, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator until cold. (You can also chill overnight).
Putting it all together:
- Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half. Return one half to the refrigerator
- Cut the left out half into 4 chunks. Using your hands, mould one piece flat onto a floured surface, then use a rolling pin to roll into a flat sheet (You can transfer into the 1st setting '0' of a pasta roller to get an even thickness, but a rolling pin is just fine).
- Then take a large cookie cutter or a medium-sized bowl to cut out a round shape. scoop about a tablespoon of the meat filling, place into one side of the round pastry, living some space at the outer edge, then turn the other side onto the side with the meat. Press down with a fork to secure. Repeat for all 4 chunks of dough, each chunk can make 2 pies (that is a total of 10 pies for the 1st half of the entire dough)
- Place the pie on a baking tray covered with baking paper and use a fork or skewer to prick a couple of holes on top.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg, cream, and water to make the egg wash. Then spread an even amount on the pies.
- Place the tray of pies in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Then bake in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees celsius for 40-50 minutes or until the pies are harder to touch with a lightly scorched top.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool until just warm to the touch. Then enjoy!