Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Aussie Jackaroo Pie

Australia Day is this Saturday (26th January), so I thought something suitably patriotic needed to be cooked. What to make?

Lamingtons were high on my list until I remembered my last attempt at sponge cake (which is the basis of lamingtons) –a disaster of many eggs and a flat-as-a-pancake sponge. Then I bought the February issue of delicious magazine and my prayers were answered. For it is the Annual Australian Issue, and it’s bursting with Aussie-style good eats. In fact, even as an avowed digital enthusiast, this issue warrants a hard-copy so that I can plaster all those fabulous recipe ideas with little sticky flags.

delicious (feb 2013)

Here’s a Jackaroo Pie, from Masterchef Australia judge, Matt Preston. Yeah, he is English, and the pie is like shepherd’s pie, which is British, but there’s Vegemite in it, and you can’t get more Aussie than that (just ignore that Vegemite is now owned by an American company).

A word on the pie, though. I followed the recipe precisely, and my pie looks nothing like the luscious, rich and meaty Matt Preston-model in the magazine. It could be the 2 cups of stock in the recipe that never gets a chance to reduce, but my pie was so overflowing with liquid that the mashed potato on top started soaking into it, and I had to use a slotted spoon to serve a ‘slice’ of it. But the taste was magnificent, full of sweet, abundant umami flavour. It was even better the next day, after allowing the flavours to develop further.

Jackaroo Pie
serves 4

3 tblsp olive oil
500g lamb mince
2 tsp Vegemite
1 brown onion, finely chopped
6 spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 ¼ cups frozen peas
2 tbs tomato sauce or ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup grated parmesan
20g butter, cubed

Mashed potato:
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup warm milk
20g butter, cubed

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the lamb mince and break up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Stir in the Vegemite until well combined, then set aside the lamb mixture.

2. Reduce heat under the pan to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and then add the onion and white part of the spring onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Thoroughly mix in the peas, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

3. Return the lamb to the pan and add the stock. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and pour lamb mixture into a medium (8-cup capacity) pie dish or shallow casserole dish.

4. For the mashed potato (can be made beforehand): Put the cubed potato into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil for 7 minutes, until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes well and allow to sit in the warm pan until the remaining water evaporates. Add the butter, then use a potato masher to crush the potatoes. Add the milk and continue mashing until smooth (you may not need all of the milk). Stir the green part of the spring onions through the mashed potato. Spread mashed potato on top of the lamb and sprinkle with parmesan and dot with cubes of butter.

5. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 180C/360F oven or until top is golden. Serve.

Recipe adapted from delicious (February 2013)

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove any excess liquid and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating. Reheat in microwave, or in the oven.

The Vegemite label is so classically retro.
A spoonful of Vegemite adds a real fullness to the flavour of meat-based dishes.
And Vegemite is a yeast-extract spread, it doesn't actually contain any vegetables or mites.

Cooked lamb mince (with Vegemite), onion and green onions.

The lamb filling is topped with green onion-studded mashed potato, parmesan and butter.

Happy Australia Day, mate!


  1. Can't get much more Aussie than this ;)

  2. Love the patriotism! I actually have some vegemite than an aussie reader brought me when she came to visit. I haven't actually tried it yet but now perhaps I must...

  3. Vegemite + pie...interesting! Good to hear it tasted OK.

  4. This looks great! I don't think I've ever had Vegemite with meat before but it sounds interesting

  5. It looks really hearty and comforting. Perfect for the snowy weather we have over here.

  6. Not in Australia but this ain't gonna stop me from having this on our weekly menu. Yum yum yum! :D Got my eye on your next posts.

  7. Haha love it! Vegemites so versatile :)

  8. LOL! I loved the story, Matt Preston being English, Shepherds Pie being English and Vegemite now US aside this pie looks delicious! I would be happy if we claimed it as a good ole Aussie Pie :)

  9. Ooh I love the idea of using veg in a pie. I might give this a go in winter when I start making stews etc.

  10. I never used vegemites...but this dish looks awesome, such a comfort one!
    Have a great week Bel!

  11. I made this last night!
    And Agree, way too runny!
    Must leave it on the stove to reduce for a lot longer before putting in pie dish.
    I actually thought the recipe was a bit bland. Maybe some herbs and more Worcestershire next time!!

  12. I have made this several times. But I halve the stock! Plus I add corn with the peas, and substitute sweet potato mash for normal mash...