Australia and England have a strong connection in terms of traditional national dishes. So, on my very first trip to London I was keen to get in and around some of those classic British dishes to see the similarities, and perhaps learn some new recipe variations to try back home.
On a cold dreary London day, I found a charming little pub near the Natural History Museum to stop in to have a lazy lunch.
I was after some comfort food, so I couldn’t think of anything more comforting than a meat pie served with mushy peas and gravy.
Enjoying my meat pie with mushy peas I could help but be reminded of a hearty winter dish back home in South Australia… the Pie Floater!
Made famous in my very own hometown of Adelaide, the origins of the famous Pie Floater are said to lay with a Scottish immigrant who arrived in Adelaide in 1880 and went on to start his own pie cart business, feeding the masses in the city.
The famous Pie Floater is essentially a quality meat pie turned upside down in a bowl then topped with a ladle of hot and preferably thick pea and ham soup, it’s that simple!
Usually garnished with a squeeze of tomato sauce, it’s suited to the individual’s taste with other condiments such as mint sauce, worcestershire sauce and even vinegar.
It’s not known if the recipe idea was bought over from Scotland or it simply occurred by accident from dropping a pie into a bowl of soup, regardless, we Adelaidian’s are happy that it happened.
This Adelaide classic was even recognised as a heritage Icon by the National Trust of Australia in 2003.
The Pie Floater recipe and presentation certainly has been refined over the years with some fine dining restaurants “classing” it up, adding their version of the classic Pie Floater to the menu.
Because it really is that simple, I encourage you to make your own Pie Floater using a quality (homemade if you can) meat pie and soup.
Then find the right condiment to suit your palette, you could get quite creative with the garnishes.
Try my very Australian version of the Pie Floater and let us know what you think!
Traditional Australian Pie Floater Recipe
Lamb Gravy Pie with Green Pea Mash and Saltbush Tomato Chutney. Try my very Australian version of the Pie Floater and let us know what you think!
Lamb Gravy Pie
- 500 g Diced Lamb
- 2 sheets Frozen puff pastry partially thawed
- 1 Egg lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 Brown Onion diced
- 1/2 cup Quality Beer
- 3 tbsp Gravy Powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Green Pea Mash
- 1 bag Fresh Frozen Peas
- 50 g Butter
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 1/4 cup Cream
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
Saltbush Tomato Chutney
- 6 Large Tomatoes diced
- 100 g Dried Saltbush Leaves
- 4 Shallots diced
- 1/4 cup Bush Tomato diced
- 1/4 cup Malt Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
To make the chutney gently saute the onion in oil in a saucepan until soft then add in tomato cooking for a further few minutes.
Add remaining chutney ingredients in a saucepan, simmering gently for 45 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and mixture is a jam consistency.
In a pre-heated oven, par bake the bottom layer of pastry in individual pie tins for 10-15 minutes. Then set aside.
In a casserole dish, cook the diced onion in oil until soft then add the lamb chunks and cook until lightly browned.
Stir in the beer, worcestershire sauce and gravy mixing until combined and there are no lumps left. Slow cook on a low simmer until lamb is tender and almost falling apart.
Add the lamb gravy mixture to the par baked pie tins, adding pastry lid on the top, seal and coat with egg mix. Bake for 15-20mins or until pastry top is flakey.
In another saucepan gently heat the peas and butter until just cooked through, add the cream, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and mash to your desired consistency.
Serve the lamb gravy pie on top of the green pea mash with a heaped spoonful of the chutney to garnish.