Thursday, 8 February 2018

Chelsea's Mince And Cheese Pie

As you may have noticed in my IMK post, I have a Kiwi cookbook by Chelsea Winter Homemade Happiness on my shelves.  I've been dying to try out some of her recipes, and here is the first: beef mince and cheese pie.  A Kiwi classic apparently, that you find everywhere.  Strangely, Mr P. and I have never noticed it on our trips to New Zealand, but next time we will be keeping a serious eye out for them.

One pie I did notice and eat in NZ was ling pie, bought from service stations if you can believe it.  Delicious!  And of course, on our wedding anniversary getaway to Tasmania last week, I had to have myself a curried scallop pie - guaranteed to have 6 scallops in each pie.  They're so tasty, but only really taste brilliant in Tasmania.  Always a good excuse to go back.  And did I mention the delicious bratwurst hot dogs down there?  But that's another story.

pie, glorious pie

Serves 6:


3-4 tbs olive oil

1 kg. (2.2 lb) beef mince

2 brown onions, finely chopped

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed or very finely chopped

2 sprigs' worth of rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1½ tbs dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 Litre (4 cups) salt-reduced beef stock

½ cup (110g.) tomato paste

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs Vegemite or similar yeast spread

2 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp vinegar - I used red wine vinegar

½ tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbs cold water  (possibly 2 extra tsp plus extra cold water may be needed to thicken it)

2 sheets of ready-made butter puff pastry - frozen is fine; but make your own if you have some time on your hands - tee hee:) 

1-2 tbs semolina (optional) - my idea

200g. cheddar cheese, sliced

1 egg whisked with 1 tbs milk or cream

1 dsp sesame seeds and 1 dsp poppy seeds (optional)


Heat up 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frypan, and tip in half the mince

Break it up and stir around for about 10 minutes till beautifully browned

Now either take the cooked mince out, and tip in the other half to brown also, OR do it in 2 frypans at once, like I did

Pour the extra oil into your frypan, now serenely emptied of mince

In go the onions, celery and carrot

Stir for about 10-15 minutes, till wonderfully soft and tender

Now add garlic, rosemary, oregano and bay leaf

Stir in for a few minutes

The browned mince now goes back into the pan

The stock, tomato paste, Worcester, Vegemite, mustard powder, vinegar and black pepper go in too

Stir in the cornflour slurry, and let it simmer away for 30-45 minutes, stirring now and then

You want it 'nice and thick' (as Chelsea says), not watery 

Check for seasoning and add some salt, pepper and chilli flakes if you fancy - and take out the bay leaf

Place the pastry over the base of a large pie dish

Sprinkle the semolina over the base, if using - I find it helps keep the base non-soggy

Spoon the filling into the pie dish, and top with the sliced cheese

Whack on the pastry top, press down hard with your fingers to crimp and seal the pie, and brush over the egg wash for a golden finish

Scatter the sesame and poppy seeds over the top, if using

Make sure you cut a steam hole in the middle of the pie, or use a ceramic pie bird

Place the pie dish on the lower shelf of your oven at 200C or 180C fan-forced

Bake for about 50 minutes till golden brown

Let it rest for a few minutes

Serve with mash or boiled spuds, and/or steamed veg.


I blitzed the veg. in my food processor; so much quicker than chopping by hand, folks

I put a baking tray into the oven to get hot, then sat the pie dish on it during the baking time.  This helps the pastry base to cook well

You may need to add more cornflour, as I did - I ended up putting in another 2 tsp cornflour with another tbs or 2 of water

Okay, let's be honest here - it took about an hour all up to get this mixture thick and lovely.  Maybe I didn't have the oventop hot enough, or my frypan was too big for the hotplate, or ... there was just too much liquid to start with.  I don't know, but it took ages to reduce down

Tip:  Buy ready-sliced cheddar!

(some) ingredients gathered

blitz the carrot, celery and onion 

use 2 frypans at once - so much quicker  

cook up the veg. and herbs till tender   

thick and very tasty filling

sprinkle on the sesame and poppy seeds before baking 

rich and filling slice of pie

tasty, cheesy, oozy pie

my carrotty doodle                         


  1. I love these rustic NZ styles of dishes! They're perfect for cooler nights :D

    1. it's funny how very similar NZ dishes are to our own, isn't it? Yep gotta love a rustick pie.

  2. It's a bit like a Shepherd's pie without the mashed potatoes. I like the idea of the cheese, that would be good on a Shepherd's pie as well. Yum!

    1. And the good thing is that you can have mash with it so the best of both worlds:)

  3. Hi Sherry, now that is an interesting pie filling combination, cheese and savoury mince? My husband really loves a minced meat pie, so I will give this a go soon and I bet he'll love me forever!... Would omiiting the celery make much difference? I really am not keen on the taste of celery.


    1. hi Deb
      i think you could happily leave out the celery tho we didn't really taste it after being zapped and cooked down:) the celery not us - tee hee it is a lovely pie; very rich and very filling and great with mashed potato. cheers S x

  4. I never made anything like this. Its time to expand my cooking repetoire.

  5. I never made anything like this. Its time to expand my cooking repetoire.

  6. I never knew this was a NZ thing! (I've never seen them there either). Looks delish Sherry!

    1. Thanks Jem. It was a lovely hearty meal 🥘 cheers S

  7. I adore your pie bird - newly added to my want/don'tneed list. This looks like an tasty winter comfort food, though I'd be tempted to skip the bottom crust. Sending late Happy Anniversary wishes.

    1. Yes I love my pie bird 🦅. Makes it look so cute. A pie has to have a bottom layer for me to consider it a pie Dee:). Cheers S

  8. It's always good to put a pan under pie-like things. Looks delicious. Love the doodle!

    1. hi Debra
      thanks so much for the kind words. I do love doing a doodle:) cheers S x

  9. This pie looks and sounds delicious. I love the Tassie curried scallop pies too - so good and not seen anywhere else.

    1. hi there and thanks. our local deli had the scallop pies from tassie in their freezer section for a while. just not the same thing! :) cheers S

  10. What a neat idea for a pie! This looks excellent. Like the idea of the curried scallop pie, too. Six scallops per pie? :-)

  11. Thanks KR. Yep has to have 6:). Cheers S

  12. As an Aussie I can't believe I didn't start using Vegemite in my cooking sooner. I've only used it twice last month but will be a lot more. Great umami flavour and it's cheap too.

    1. yes Vegemite is great in all sorts of foods like soups and stews.


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