I love a good pie. The hardest part, I reckon, is getting the filling to just the right consistency without making it taste too floury, or sugary. What to do, what to do? Again, I could have gone surfing for ideas or a recipe, but as usual, I eschewed the abundance of knowledge and experience that lies at the fringes of the bandwidth and went the non-google way: I opened the cupboard instead.
I had everything out to make a steak and cheese pie, and I was poking my head into our baking cupboard to decide what I could use for a thickener, when what did I see but one trusty kumera (sweet potato to my non-kiwi readers).
Purple, knobbly inspiration.
During the 2 hours that the filling simmers on the stove, the kumera breaks down, leaving its natural sweetness in the meat, while its natural vegetable starch gives the filling body and texture without tasting starchy. Natural thickener. Genius.
Beef & Kumera Pie
In a large pan, heat 2-3T of rice bran or olive oil. Fry up 1 chopped onion and 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic. When they have softened, add 400g of diced blade steak to the pan, 1 roughly peeled and chopped kumera, freshly ground salt and pepper, 1 t carraway seeds, 1 T paprika, 1 t mustard powder (more if you like a bit more bite), and about 3T of worcester sauce.
Cook on rapid heat for 6 mins, then add 1C of beef stock and simmer gently for 2 hours.
While the filling is simmering, roll out the pastry (yes, we let the supermarket freezer make ours) and place in a greased piedish, about 28cm round. When the stew is done, dish into the pastry. Spread a layer of grated cheese over the top of the meat. We used edam and parmesan, but any good tasty cheese will do. Place the pie crust on top of the meat and press down around the edges with a fork, like so. glaze with milk, and pierce all over with the fork. Bake for 40 mins at 190C, preferably with the grill on very lightly to brown the top. For the sake of being traditional, serve with peas, carrots and tomato sauce.