KITCHEN WHIZ: Could Karryn Meulders get the prize for her pies?

Karryn Meulders describes herself as a “homestyle cook” – she’s not interested in the fiddly and delicate dishes served up by hopefuls on Masterchef. 

“I just like to make things that people enjoy, food which brings people together.”

Some of Karryn’s specialties include Thai and Indian food, and it was a chicken curry pie that she made for the Naracoorte and District Hockey Association’s canteen which really caught the club’s attention.

Karryn’s pies have been such a hit that they’re now regularly featured on the canteen menu.

“Everyone enjoys my pies,” she said.

“I started doing them for my family, and now I do a ‘Pie of the Day’ for the hockey associations canteen.”

Coming up with the idea of a “pie drive” to raise money to buy furniture for the club rooms, Karryn originally envisioned that around 150 would be sold.

Then the orders came in. And Karryn ended up doing filling, from scratch, for 383 family size pies.

“The only thing that was store-bought was the pastry. Luckily I had helpers come in to help me fill and cook them.”

Karryn has also used her culinary skills to help out the CFS, and she describes her fellow volunteers as “a great bunch of ladies to work with.” They’re the heroes behind the scenes who are making sure that our firies are getting in meals between battling the elements.

“I was out there last year with the Frances fires, looking after them. It was good – it was exhausting, but rewarding.”

Like many cooks, Karryn’s culinary efforts go back to her childhood. The curry recipe for her pie (below) is one she’s had since she was 12, and in high school she transformed the Home Economics kitchen into a restaurant for a project.

“It’s just simple stuff, but it makes people happy.”

Chicken curry pie (Serves four with some leftover)

Ingredients

1 x BBQ chicken (pulled apart and chopped)

1 x brown onion, chopped

1 x red capsicum, diced

1 x green capsicum, diced

Keens curry powder (1-2 dessert spoons recommended)

Chicken stock (1tsp or 1 cube)

Sugar (1 dessert spoon)

Butter

Flour 

Milk

Method 

Melt butter, add onions and capsicums, cooking them until they’re soft. Add in a little bit more butter, then the desired amount of curry powder. Add flour, and stir to make a roux. Cook off for another minute. Slowly add milk and stir, until you have a sauce to your desired consistency. Add chicken, stock, and sugar and warm through. The sauce will continue to thicken whilst on the heat. Add milk if it gets too thick. Place into pie pastry shell.