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Comforts of a Rural Life and a Shredded Beef Pie

Looking out my window at a brilliant blue Australian sky I can’t help but smile as I read these lines:

“Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit,
and restore…”
– William Cowper –

As much as I love the rural beauties around me – weeds masquerading as wildflowers, fresh eggs nestled in golden straw, plump green bell peppers dangling from their stalks – it is also the sounds of the country that grip my heart and soothe my spirits.

Right now I can hear my chooks (chickens) clucking contentedly as they peck at apples and cucumbers I tossed onto the grass for them. Every now and then one of the little goats gives a plaintive bleat and I look up to see them all trying in vain to stand on the same log at the same time.

We’ve had some ripping thunderstorms lately. How I love watching the storm clouds build, seeing the massive streaks of lightning and hearing shuddering booms of thunder before that first whoosh of wind blasts through the gum trees and huge raindrops clatter on the tin roof of the back porch.

I thoroughly enjoy exploring cities, delighting in the mad hustle and bustle, having a marvelous time attending concerts or plays and discovering great restaurants. But it’s in the country where my soul finds rest.

Whether floating along canals outside Amsterdam

…wandering deserted cliffs on the island of Gozo

…or sitting quietly in the courtyard of an Italian farmhouse.

Casa Scaparone tables

On such sunny, peaceful days in the country, I crave comfort food like homemade bread slathered with butter and honey. My favorite country, comfort food is a Shredded Beef Pie. It’s basically a savory beef stew tucked in pie dough and baked until the crust is flaky and beautifully browned. I admit I’ve been known to eat all the stew first then linger happily over the salted pie crust. Sigh. 🙂 I like making personal pies in little ramekins. They go perfectly with a glass of chilled sparkling Shiraz (summer) or your favorite red wine (winter) or good stout beer (anytime).

Where do you go to restore your spirits?

Shredded Beef Pie
(Adjust amounts to suit your needs. This makes enough for two regular pies or eight small ones.)


small beef roast
2 onions, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
3-4 potatoes, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
flour or cornstarch
favorite pie crust dough (I love Julia Child’s blue ribbon pie crust recipe), enough for two double-crust pies
1 egg, beaten


  1. Place roast, vegetables, rosemary, salt and pepper in crock-pot, cover with water and cook 8-12 hours until meat shreds easily with a fork.
  2. Prepare pie crust. Press into pie pans and chill until ready to use.
  3. Remove roast and let rest a few minutes. Shred roast and cover until needed. Pour remaining contents into a colander, saving juices for gravy. Cover vegetables until needed. Allow juices to cool 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour juices into saucepan. Taste for seasonings and add salt or pepper as needed. Make roux of flour (or cornstarch) and water. Add to juices and turn heat to medium-high. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1-2 minutes until it thickens to the consistency you desire (a thick gravy). Remove from heat.
  5. Combine shredded beef and vegetables in a bowl, pour enough gravy over mixture to coat. Should be like a thick stew.
  6. Remove pie pans from fridge. Pour stew into each pan, mounding it slightly in the center. Roll out top crust and place on top. Pinch edges to seal (use a bit of water if it doesn’t stick properly). Cut slits in top crust for steam to escape. Brush with egg and dust with salt.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Serve hot.
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Krista -  Isn’t Gozo spectacular, Jeanne? I am utterly smitten by that tiny little island. 🙂 Ooo, a venison version of this sounds fantastic!!

Jeanne @ CookSister! - Oh what stunning photos – especially that one of Gozo!  I love the buzz of cities but need the quiet of solitude to calm me.  Can be hard to find in London!  I make a very similar pie, but with venison – yours sounds delicious!

Krista -  Thank you, dear Tuula! 🙂 This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It’s so savory and comforting and hearty. 🙂

TuulaR - Oh yum Krista! I love stopping by your blog because there’s always something delicious going on 🙂 Thanks for giving us another 
great recipe to try – plus I’ve got a new set of ramekins that need breaking in 🙂

Krista -  They absolutely do, dear Andi! I love them. 🙂 Such fabulous eeriness and majesty. 🙂

Krista -  Thank you, Katie! 🙂 Yes, sunshine and fresh air are wonderfully healing things. 🙂

Krista -  Oh, your descriptions are exquisite, dear Ozoz! 🙂 I can picture and “feel” everything. I’m so glad I met you too!!! 🙂

Krista -  Oh good, Duchess! I hope you love it! 🙂

Katie@Cozydelicious - What beautiful pictures – as always!  I agree… my soul rests in the country too.  Something about sunshine and fresh air… and a picnic with beef pie – yum!

Andi Perullo - Thunderstorms make for the best pictures right? I go to the beach to restore my spirits.

Kitchen Butterfly - I love beaches, waking up to crashing waves and hearing the quiet rush of water back to the open sea. I love the whistling of tropical breezes, on a warm Friday evening, but best of all…the thought of flaky pastry dough and shredded beef, is sufficient to lull me into deep sleep (of contentment!). Thanks for your kind words Krista – you are an amazing person. So glad I met you! Have a great weekend

Duchess - Yes please! For dinner tomorrow, I think!

Krista -  I can only imagine the wonderful things you see and hear at your lovely place, Linda. 🙂

Krista -  I agree, Joanne! I love a bit of both. 🙂

Krista -  What a wonderful spot you have, Val. 🙂 Sigh, it sounds idyllic, so peaceful and beautiful and inspiring. I’m so glad you have this place. 🙂

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Lindyloumacinitaly - How right you are, the sights and sounds of life around us are so important.

Joanne - I feel like, to really and truly be happy, I need a good mix of city and country. And lots of good comfort food! that beef pie looks so rustic and delicious.

bellini - I have a favourite beach within easy driving distance of my home where I will not see a soul, can watch the merganser ducks float by with their adopted brood and the occasional canoe or kayak breaks the silence. I take my chair, my book and my sunhat for some relaxation. Now that I also have a laptop I could even take that and do some work…if there is reception. I will try it. Then I can go more often.

Krista -  They sure are, Hila! I can’t believe how many different kinds of pies you guys make and eat. 🙂

Krista -  Aren’t they magnificent, Susan?! I was in awe!!! 🙂

Krista -  It really is, Deanna. 🙂 It makes me happy every time I make it. 🙂 Oh, there’s so many places I haven’t been: Africa, South America, Asia. But I’m so very grateful for the chance to visit the places I have been to. 🙂

Hila - Pies are so much a part of Australian ‘cuisine’, this made me smile 🙂

I do know what you mean, there are special sounds in the country. 

thefisherlady - the cliffs on the island!! Wow!

Deanna - That sounds like the perfect comfort food! And is there anywhere you haven’t been? You’re the most well traveled person I know.

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