Whereas Americans have an almost obscene love of   hamburgers, Aussies are mad keen on meat pies and sausage rolls. We – and I include myself as a dual-national, “an Austerican” – are the world’s biggest consumers of meat pies with over 260 million eaten each year.

The traditional Aussie meat pie is about 15cm in diameter, just large enough to hold in one hand and covered in tomato sauce (ketchup). The pastry is usually shortcrust (heavy enough so it doesn’t fall apart in your hands), and the filling is beef or chicken with enough thick gravy inside to stick it all together.

The actual origin of the popularity of the meat pie in Australia is not known but the first recorded mention of the ‘pie’ appeared in 1850 in the Melbourne Argus, which reported that the Councillors preferred a meat pie from the pub opposite rather than the food provided in the chambers.

Pies first came into being in Victorian era England when the middle classes adopted the “Sunday roast” of either beef or lamb. The leftover meat was minced and the lamb was topped with potato, baked and became shepherds pie and the beef was noted as cottage pie.

As the English migrated they took their cooking habits and recipes with them. Pie carts were common on street corners in most Australian towns and around schools at lunch time and indeed some can still be found in country towns today.

Of all the popular brand names of meat pies available today, Sargents is the oldest. George & Charlotte Sargent began selling Sargents Pies in 1883. Four ‘N’ Twenty were first baked in 1947 by local caterer Les McClure in the Victorian town of Bendigo. McClure named his pies Four’N Twenty after the line in the nursery rhyme, “Sing a Song of Sixpence”, about King Henry VIII entertaining guests by baking 24 blackbirds in a pie and having the birds fly out of the pie.



  • 500 g minced beef or chicken 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup water , divided
  • 2 beef or chicken bouillon cubes
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 puff pasrty sheets


  1. Pre-heat oven at 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Brown meat and onion.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of the water, bouillon cubes, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, pepper, oregano, and nutmeg.
  4. Boil and cover for 15 minutes.
  5. Blend flour with the remaining 1/4 cup water until it becomes a smooth paste; add to the meat mix.
  6. Let cool.
  7. Grease a pie dish and line with puff pastry.
  8. Add the cooled filling mixture; brush edges of pastry with milk or beaten egg; put the pastry top on; press edges down with a fork.
  9. Trim edges and glaze top with milk or beaten egg.
  10. Bake in a very hot oven, 220 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
  11. Reduce heat to 180 degrees Celsius and bake for 25 more minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Serve with veggies, fries, or salad.

About stonekingseminars

Poet, screenwriter, producer, mentor
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to HAVA “DEAD DOG’S EYE” (A PIE)

  1. Kelly says:

    Yummm, can’t wait for footy (AFL) season to start, munching on a pie with dead horse (tomato sauce) on top, freezing and being rained on in my poncho. Go Hawks!

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