Creamy Mushroom, Beef & Almond Pies

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Creamy Mushroom, Beef & Almond Pies-2

Creamy Mushroom, Beef & Almond Pies

Some people argue that the meat pie is one of great Australian contributions to global cuisine.

And as much as I am proud of them, they’re not the healthiest.

With questionable-quality minced (ground) meat in a flour thickened gravy encased in a pastry crust.

We’re talking carb central.

A while back, I was flicking through the Bourke Street Bakery book, fondly remembering their pies, when inspiration struck!

Surely there was a way to make a pie that would be just as delicious and comforting without all the carbs.

Or the effort that goes with making pastry.

And my friend, there is!

By using a combo of almond meal and flaked almonds you get a pot pie that ticks all the boxes.

Especially the minimal effort one πŸ˜‰

Enough for: 2
Takes: 30 minutes
Net Carbs: 12g/ serve

300g (10oz) ground (minced) beef
400g (14oz) mushrooms
1/2 cup whipping cream (35% fat)
2 tablespoons tomato passata (puree)
75g (3oz) almond meal
50g (2oz) sliced almonds

1. Turn your oven to 250C (480F).

2. Heat a large frying pan on a medium high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes or until beef is well browned. Remove beef from the pan, leaving as much as the fat behind as possible.

3. Slice mushrooms about 1cm (1/2in) thick. Add to the pan with the beef fat and cook for another 5 minutes or until mushrooms are dark grey and soft. If your beef was quite lean you may like to add a little oil or butter to cook the mushrooms.

4. When the mushrooms are cooked remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cooked beef, cream, tomato passata and a big pinch salt. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

5. Divide mushroom mixture between two oven proof pie dishes that each hold 2 cups. Or use one 4 cup dish. Sprinkle over almond meal and flaked almonds to cover the entire surface of each pie.

6. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the almond crust is deeply golden. Enjoy hot or warm. I like it with fresh parsley leaves or a green salad but some Australians (and Irishmen) consider this unnecessary.

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Variations & Substitutions

pantry-friendly – replace cream with coconut cream or use 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/3 cup water or milk instead of the cream. Use grilled veg from the deli / a jar or home cooked / canned chickpeas or cooked lentils instead of fresh mushrooms.

vegetarian – replace beef with cooked chickpeas, cooked lentils or roast veg like cauliflower or grilled veg like zucchini or eggplant. OR use extra mushrooms and extra flaked almonds.

dairy-free – replace cream with stock or water. Or use almond milk or coconut milk, coconut cream or butter.

more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with hot chips (fries),crisps, crusty bread or roast potato. Or replace the almond crust with pre-rolled puff pastry and allow extra time to cook (about 20 minutes).

more substantial (low carb) – use more beef or more almonds.

Low FODMAP – make a plain beef pie by skipping the mushrooms and doubling the meat.

different vegetables – roast veg like cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato. Or grilled veg like zucchini or eggplant. OR sliced cabbage cooked until soft. Softening a diced onion before cooking the beef is always a welcome addition.

no tomato passata – use 2 teaspoons concentrated tomato paste or handful halved fresh cherry tomatoes. Or for a nightshade-free option replace tomato passata with 1-2 teaspoons soy sauce or miso paste.

different protein – see vegetarian options. Or use any minced (ground) meat or sausages. Or substitute any cooked leftover meat like roast chicken, slow cooked lamb or brisket.

more fancy / for entertaining – add the leaves from a sprig of rosemary or thyme to cook with the beef. And serve with a simple green salad or my favourite shaved cabbage salad or my best-ever broccoli salad. And serve with chilli oil for the hot heads.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

ground (minced) beef – freeze it.

mushrooms – keep in the fridge in a brown paper bag. Once cooked will keep for weeks. And can be frozen raw or cooked.

cream – unopened cartons will generally keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. If you need to store for longer, just pop in the freezer in a sealed container.

tomato passata (puree) / almond meal / sliced almonds
– keep them in the pantry.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – salt, salt salt! Or serve with some hot sauce or chilli oil. More tomato passata can help next time.

too dry – next time use more cream. For now a drizzle of cold cream or extra virgin olive oil will help. Using deeper dishes will

no oven – cook mushrooms, beef and cream in a pan as per the recipe. Then instead of roasting in the oven, replace almond meal with extra sliced almonds (or use whole), toast the nuts in a dry frying pan on a medium high heat until they are deeply golden. Serve meat and mushroom mixture with almond ‘crust’ sprinkled over.

no individual dishes – you can cook it in one larger (4 cup) pie dish or other ovenproof dish. Allow an extra 5 minutes or so in the oven. And be prepared that the crust will crumble when you serve up.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in the oven 250C (480F) for another 7-10 mins.

Creamy Mushroom, Beef & Almond Pies

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Chapman May 4, 2020

I have been eating more meat than usual lately, so used tinned brown lentils in place of the beef, frying an onion first, and the supermarket only had a few mushrooms available so I had to pad it out with a couple of zucchinis. I have a pie dish big enough to take all of the resultant filling, so used that for one pie. The filling was tasty enough (I added dried herbs, vegetable stock powder and pepper), but the topping didn’t appear to set at all. 75g of almond meal made a thick topping, and it sprayed out when I cut into it. I might try it again with some cooked pasta or potato as a base, and grated cheese on top.

Reply

jules May 4, 2020

Excellent idea to use lentils to sub for the beef Mark!

The topping is very crumbly. Which is why I use individual dishes. SO I avoid the topping spraying out.

I like your idea of combining grated cheese with the almond meal as a topping – that would help it to bind.

The other option I’m going to try this week is a crust made with tahini. Similar to the one used in this Middle Eastern Shepherds Pie but using water instead of the yoghurt so it isn’t as creamy.

Adding the cheese / almond combo topping idea to my list to try. Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

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Mark Chapman May 5, 2020

Perhaps a warning to use less almond meal on a larger dish might be in order then, because you do imply that one 4 cup dish is fine- “Divide mushroom mixture between two oven proof pie dishes that each hold 2 cups. Or use one 4 cup dish.”

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jules May 5, 2020

It really depends on the surface area of your 4 cup dish Mark. If it’s shallow like a pie dish then you’ll need the full amount.

Thanks for helping me write better recipes!

Reply

Luke Wensing May 1, 2020

Hi Jules. It would be useful to have the basics..ingredients and recipe printable as one A4 page. This ones just drips over and the stuff at the top is unnecessary.
Thanks
Luke

Reply

jules May 1, 2020

Thanks for the suggestion Luke!

You can actually choose which bits to print when you use the ‘print friendly’ option – click on that icon (after the recipe) and then just click on any bits you want to delete and delete them.

I can’t believe you think my ‘brilliant prose’ at the top is unnecessary! Hah ha

Does that help?

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Jane March 28, 2020

Easy to dismiss a recipe because it does not suit a member of your family – mushrooms not being a family favourite although I love them. Jules is great at suggesting substitutions which is really helpful. In this case it was not so much a substitution as that I stole the ‘pie crust’ and dumped it on top of a beef and prune hotpot that I had thawed from the freezer. Followed the instructions here and popped it in the oven and heated through until the almonds were golden and crispy – served with a little mash and green beans. Brownie points accrued from the non-mushroom brigade! Delicious touch thank you Jules!

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jules March 28, 2020

We make a great team Jane! The thing I love about individual pies is you could always add mushrooms to yours and different veg for your fungi-phobes πŸ™‚

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Jane March 28, 2020

That’s a very good point – need to dig out the individual ramekins that are buried somewhere in our ‘excess’ kitchen gear hiding in the shed waiting for extra cupboard space!

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jules March 28, 2020

That sounds like hard work Jane! The other option is to cook some mushrooms and just serve them on top of yours. Mushrooms are great for supporting immune function πŸ™‚

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Jane March 28, 2020

That does tend to end up as my default position!

jules March 29, 2020

It’s a great positivities every one enjoys their meal more πŸ™‚

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