Sunday, 19 January 2014

Beef Pie with Hidden Carrot (and other vegetables) - gluten free

It is always a battle getting my daughter to eat vegetables. Whilst there are some she will eat willingly (sweetcorn, green beans, broccoli and (strangely) sprouts) and others she will just about tolerate (an occasional mushroom, a bit of onion….), for the most part she just won't touch them. Unless, of course, they are hidden. I am sure she is not unusual in her refusal to entertain most things good for her, but as parents, we worry and try to find ways and means to ensure her consumption of the full range of vitamins and minerals, fruit and veg wherever we can.

My daughter insists she hates tomatoes…… We cook them, squish them, sieve them, puree them and she eats them in abundance. Bolognaise, chilli con carne, tortilla stack, pies, soups, the list is endless. It is quite amazing how many of her favourite dishes contain vast amounts of the tomatoes she so detests!

And carrots? Chop them up small enough and they can be hidden in any variety of meals! In fact, chop any vegetable, herb or fruit into tiny bits and you can conceal it just about anywhere……. Trust me, most of the time, they won't even know they have eaten it and you can be sure it will be doing its good without any sign of protest.

The fact that my daughter enjoys anything with minced beef is a major bonus……. it being the perfect ingredient to camouflage lots of things she says she doesn't like.

This pie is one of my daughter's most favourite meals. I quote : 'Mummy….. I love, love, LOVE this pie…..when can we have it again?' It is also one of my favourite dishes in which to hide the 'evil carrot' (my daughter's description, not mine!). It also contains a goodly quantity of parsley, onion, garlic, sweetcorn and tomato, which (alongside the rest of the ingredients) makes it a pretty healthy meal for a growing eight year old.

The pastry I use is my lovely gluten free almond pastry, which in itself is pretty nutritious (as pastry goes). It is crisp and flavourful and pretty versatile. I use it for a whole number of dishes, adding sugar when I need a sweeter base, but also freeze-dried fruit and other flavourings when I want something a bit different.

The filling is made with a lovely moist, but not wet consistency so that the pie doesn't sog and can be eaten hot or cold. The flavour is rich, beefy, tomatoey, slightly sweet from the carrot, onion, garlic, sweetcorn and honey, but with a depth of flavour drawn from the seasoning, herbs and soy (which must be checked for gluten-free status). All encased in a crisp almond pastry………….. delicious!

We love this pie so much, I am sharing it with this month's Family Foodies challenge being hosted by Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash (co-hosted with Louise at Eat Your Veg). The theme for January is 'hidden goodies' - dedicated to all those parents of fussy eaters and our attempts to ensure a balanced diet. This pie is definitely a winner on all scores in our house.

Beef Pie with Hidden Carrot - gluten free

Ingredients - Pastry   

195g brown rice flour
75g corn flour
60g ground almonds
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
165g butter (cold)
2 medium eggs (lightly beaten)
approx 1 tablespoon cold water


Make the pastry as shown in the method from this post. Make the filling for the pie before you make the pastry to allow time to cool.

Ingredients - filling

500g lean beef steak mince
1 large onion - finely chopped
1 large carrot - finely chopped
1 clove garlic - crushed
1 small tin (142g) concentrated tomato puree
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon gluten free shoyu soy sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
3 large handfuls sweetcorn kernels (I used frozen)
100 ml water
Salt & pepper to season


  1. Make the filling for the pie first, so that it has time to cool before being put in the pastry.
  2. Finely chop and gently fry the onion, carrot and garlic together in a large saucepan or frying pan over a medium heat, until soft.
  3. Add the beef mince and continue to fry gently until the mince has browned.
  4. Continue to cook whilst you add the tomato puree, honey and GF soy sauce. Stir through until completely combined. 
  5. Add the water and stir until the mix is simmering.
  6. Add the sweetcorn and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir through and continue to simmer gently (stirring occasionally) for a further 10 minutes to complete the cooking process. The filling should be moist, but without excess liquid. If it seems too dry, add a little more water and stir through. If it seems too wet, allow to simmer for a little longer, stirring until the excess liquid has steamed-off. 
  7. Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool as quickly as possible (leave the pan lid off and stir frequently). 
  8. Whilst the filling is cooling, make the pastry. Cut off about two thirds of the pastry dough and use immediately (without chilling) to roll and line a 9 inch/23 cm round pie tin. Do not cook.
  9. Once cool, spoon the filling into the pie base and roll out the remaining pastry to make the lid. Make sure you moisten the underside edges of the lid and the top edge of the pastry base with milk, beaten egg or cold water where they will join, so that the edges stick together.
  10. Trim and pinch the edges together to seal. 
  11. Decorate as you wish. Brush with an egg-wash or cold milk to glaze. (If you wish to freeze the pie, do so at this stage before cooking). If you are cooking the pie later, leave to chill in the fridge until you are ready to use. It is worth allowing to chill for half an hour anyway as this helps the pastry to rest and prevents shrinkage.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6 and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown on top. 
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  1. The next time I make a pie for my housemate and myself to share (she is a coeliac) I'm going to give this pastry recipe a go because it looks a lot more attractive than the one I used last time. The filling looks delicious too =)

  2. Your pie looks absolutely wonderful and a real winter warmer! Thank you so much for sharing in January's Family Foodies challenge :)

  3. Thanks Laura. The pastry hasn't let me down yet! The trick is not to over-knead and not to chill it before rolling (chill and rest once it is in the pie tin, before it goes in the oven)! Use plenty of corn or rice four on the rolling surface so that it doesn't stick. Let me know how you get on if you do try it!

  4. Have struggled to make a decent gluten free meat pie so will give this one a go.

    1. Life needs a good meat pie. Definitely try it……… and let me know how you get on!


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