Saturday, August 11, 2007

4 & 20 blackbirds baked in a pie

And when the pie was opened, the birds began to sing....
Four'N Twenty Pie interpretation from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Four'N Twenty Meat Pie was invented in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia by LT. McLure in 1947. The meat pie is a very popular food product in Australia as strong demand for the pie saw production grow from 50 pies per day to 50,000 pies per hour in between the years of 1948 to 1998.

McLure took a sampling of his pies to the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show where they proved very popular. Increasing demand for the pie caused McLure to eventually open a Melbourne bakery in a pavilion of the showgrounds, later moving to bigger premises in nearby Ascot Vale several years later.

The Four'N Twenty Meat Pie is Victoria's best selling meat pie. It is considered a tradition to consume a Four'N Twenty Meat Pie at an Australian Rules Football match . While not as iconic outside of Victoria, Four'N Twenty pies are still the most commonly available brand in hotboxes, in service stations and corner stores across the country.

In 2006 it was announced that the Four'N Twenty pie would begin being sold on the American market.

Well, I have looked at, scrutinised, analysed and invariably cooked, lots of recipes for "4n20's", as we call 'em 'ere Down Under, but none of them matches up to this recipe. This recipe is the closest to the ridgey didgey, all Aussie Meat Pie that I have found...and of course, it's gotta be served with "dead horse'.

(Aussie slang) dead horse
(meaning) tomato sauce

This is my entry for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, kindly hosted this week by Melissa, The Cooking Diva, and whilst I've prattled on about an Australian icon, without homegrown dried oregano, (which I place in a brown paper bag, and hang in the garage until it's dry, or more than often, I forget about it), this pie would taste like that famous Colonel's recipe with only 10 secret herbs and spices...THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT..dried oregano.

I remember an Italian chef mentioning on a cooking program, that only the dried purple flowers were worthy of eating. He threw the rest away! Oregano is also an excellent antioxidant. A recent study (Zheng, W. et al. 2002. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol 49: pp 5165-5170) of culinary and medicinal herbs identified oregano as the the herb with the greatest antioxidant activity. It scored higher than any fruit or vegetable previously tested. It had higher antioxidant activity than even vitamin E.

AUSSIE MEAT PIE - makes 6 individual pies

1 onion finely chopped
500 gms (1 and 1/4 pounds) ground beef
1 cup water
2 crumbled beef stock cubes or 2 tsp stock powder
1/4 cup tomato sauce (dead horse or ketchup)
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Pepper to taste
A good heaped pinch (or more) of dried oregano
Pinch nutmeg
3 tblsp plain (all purpose) flour
3 sheets of ready rolled shortcust pastry, thawed
3 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry, thawed
Beaten egg to glaze


Cook onion and beef without any fat until meat is well browned (a non-stick frypan is recommended for this step)

Add 3/4 cup of water, stock cubes, sauces and seasonings.

Blend flour with the remaining water to make a smooth paste. Add to meat and bring to boil, stiring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Line individual pie tins with the shortcrust pastry, spoon in cooled meat mixture, cover pie with puff pastry sheets.

Glaze with beaten egg, then bake in a hot oven 230 degrees C, or 450 degrees F, for 15 minutes, reduce heat to moderate and then cook another 25 minutes until pastry is golden.

Oh isn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?


CookingDiva - Chef Melissa said...

Pam, they look delicious! Thanks for joining WHB#95!

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

Oh man, I have missed meat pies ever since I left NZ when I was 16. For some reason, I can never find the right size bake dishes for the perfect pie. Kinda ruins the fun of eating it out of your hands. Those look delicious

Pam said...

Thanks Melissa. Good luck with the roundup

Bake your cake, I feel for you. Nothing beats eating a hot pie, dripping in tomato sauce, whilst watching a game of footy.

Kalyn said...

I'm happy to see that Melissa is doing better and has finally posted the recap for this WHB. Thanks for being so patient.