Saturday, September 25, 2010


INDIVIDUAL MEAT PIES - a recipe for kids

Reminiscing about my childhood, Chicken Pot Pie from Marie Calender's is about the only "American Style" Meat Pie that comes to my mind. It wasn't until I married a South African that I received a proper introduction into the world of Savory Meat Pies. Curry Lamb Pies, Cornish Pasties, Shepherd's Pie, and even Steak and Kidney Pies (yes - real Beef Kidney) have graced my plate, and I have made room in my gastronomic repertoire for every single one of them. Likewise, I have developed a particular fondness for the Chutneys and Gravies that always ride sidecar.

Perhaps my fascination with pies is merely the packaging? Aahhh, it goes far deeper than that. However, anything wrapped in a flaky, buttery, golden, crisp crust is destined to be divine. Regardless of whether the edges are precisely crimped or rustically rough, the savory contents of the package becomes even more delectable.

These individual "Mini" Meat Pies were such a hit with my little ones. For some reason they relish in the idea that they can have their very own - individual - eat the entire thing - all by themselves, pie - on their plate. And for my dear Husband, well, in honor of the man that first introduced me to savory beef pies, I spiced the meat filling similarly to Boerewors - the indigenous Farmer's Sausage of South Africa. Devoured they were!

1 lbs. Ground Beef
1 Egg
1 Garlic Clove (minced)
1 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. Ground Pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tbs. Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp. Allspice
Dash of Nutmeg and Cloves
1 tbs. Dried Bread Crumbs

1 Box Puff Pastry - Thawed and brought to room temperature

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 350º F

The one appliance that gets my 3 year old boy cooking in the kitchen with me - every time, is the spice|coffee grinder. I used whole Coriander, Peppercorns, and Allspice Berries and let my little chef grind them fresh for this recipe. The aroma is fantastic when done this way.

My young chef begins this dish by measuring and combining all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Small measuring spoons filled with the fragrant fresh ground spices keeps him very interested in the task at hand. I allow my chef to stir, and stir the dry ingredients to his hearts content (he could do this till well past dinner time and far into bed time, if I let him).

Our chef then adds 1 table spoons of Worcestershire Sauce to the bowl . He stirs again.

Our young chef next tests his grip strength with the garlic press as he adds one minced clove to the bowl. And again, he stirs.

I give my little chef a metal spoon and hold an egg in the palm of my hand, wherein he delivers a healthy rap to crack the egg shell. I empty the contents of the shell into a cup and allow him to pour the egg into the bowl. Our chef stirs yet again.

I then add 1 lb. Ground Beef to the bowl and mix with my hands. I roll 9 balls out of the mixture and place them in a small baking dish. About 25 minutes a 350º oven should bring the internal temperature of the meatballs to 160 degrees.

Using one of the Puff Pastry sheets, I cut 3 long strips, which are again cut into 9 equal squares. I lay the squares on an un-greased cookie sheet and pre-heat the oven to 400º.

Our little chef places a meatball in the center of each pastry square and pulls all four corners up around the ball to overlap on the top.

Using a fork, he scores the top seams to seal the dough. As one can imagine, manufacturing these little packages was quite thrilling for the young chef.

Bake at 400º about 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

I do hope this recipe gives you and your little chefs some cherished time together in the kitchen, and ultimately some satisfied and content tummies. As always, if you have a recipe or cooking project that was a winner with your child, please email it to me at:, and we hope to see you again soon at The Chef's Emporium.