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Meat and Potato Pie

Introduction & method

This Northern English (actually probably Lancastrian) delicacy is a staple of chip shops and football matches. Unnamed meat - usually the cheapest possible beef, potato and onions make for a tasty savoury filling that is pure comfort food.

Meat and Potato Pie Recipe

Make the Filling

Peel the onions and chop into quite small pieces. Put them into a large saucepan with the stock. Bring to the boil. Trim any fat from your meat, then cut it into small cubes, about 1cm (half an inch). Add these to the pan, along with the black pepper and parsley. Turn down the heat and let the pan simmer for 2 hours, stirring and checking now and again that you have enough liquid to keep the contents from sticking. Peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes a bit larger than the meat cubes. Add them to the pan and cook the whole lot for another 30 minutes. Check for seasoning - add salt if necessary. If the liquid is too runny, sift in a teaspoon or two of flour and stir well to get rid of any lumps. The gravy should be fairly thick, not runny. Remove from the heat and let the filling cool down completely - put it in the fridge if you're in a hurry.

Pressure Cooker Method

If you're in a serious hurry, cook the meat, onions and stock in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes. The meat should be very tender. Boil/simmer the spuds separately for 10/15 minutes, until they are tender. Drain the potatoes, add them to the meat (having first de-pressurised the pressure cooker), season and thicken with flour.

Make Hot Water Pastry

Melt the lard into the water in a small saucepan, taking care not to let it boil. In a large bowl, mix the salt into the flour, make a well in the centre and pour in half of the lard/water solution. Mix this in, the add the remaining solution and mix thoroughly. Wrap in plastic film and place in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes.

Assemble and Bake the Pies

Preheat your oven to 200° C (392° F) for a fan oven, 220° C (428° F) for a conventional one, gas mark 7. You'll need some individual-sized pie dishes for this. Lightly oil the insides, then sprinkle flour into them. Take your pastry from the fridge and unwrap it. Cut one third of it off and roll it out on a floured worktop. It should be 3-4mm thick, just under a quarter of an inch. Using a cutter or bowl that's the same diameter as the top of your pie dishes, cut out 8 discs for your pie lids. Stack them up and set them aside. Roll out the rest of your pastry and cut it into 8 squares or circles a few centimetres bigger than your dishes. Press a piece of pastry into each dish, and trim of the excess close to the edge of the tin. Ladle a good dollop of filling into each pie dish, filling it level with the top. Moisten the rim of each pie with cold water. Place a lid on each one and press/crimp the edges together with your finger and thumbs. Raise the edge slightly so it's not in contact with the rim. Paint the tops and edges with milk. Bake for 25 minutes, turning halfway through if your oven doesn't brown evenly.

To Serve

Serve with processed, marrowfat, or mushy peas, and Bisto gravy. There's nothing posh about this dish, but it's delicious, comforting, and fills you up!

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Meat and Potato Pie on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 500 grams plain white (all-purpose) flour
 250 grams lard
 250 ml water
 1 tsp salt
 700 grams beef brisket or chuck
 700 grams potato
 2 medium onions
 1 litre beef stock
 1 tsp ground parsley
 half a tsp ground black pepper


Salt to taste. Flour to thicken the gravy, a couple of teaspoons. Milk for glazing.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 8 individual pies
Prep time: 20 minutes.
resting/cooling time: 1 hour.
Cooking time: 3 hours 15 minutes.
Total time: 3 hours 35 minutes.