Pies are quintessentially British, we are a nation of pie eaters! Though not a British invention (we have early Egyptians and Romans to thank for that), it’s hard to think of another dish that is so much a part of the DNA of our food culture.
Lamb has long been the centerpiece on spring holiday menus in England, Greece, Italy, and France, where sheep are raised. On the Passover and Easter tables, lamb is an ancient tradition. The meat is closely associated with Passover; later Christians made the Passover lamb a symbol of Jesus. It is also now that at this time of year, young lambs, born last winter, are available.
So dust off your rolling pins and get baking for Pie Week between 7th - 12th April! Here’s a super spring filling idea: try something new instead of meat and potato or apple. If making pastry is not your thing there’s no shame in using shop-bought pastry!
(Gloucestershire Squab Pie)
• 3 tbsp plain flour
• ½ tsp flaked sea salt, plus
extra, to taste
• freshly ground black pepper,
• 1kg lamb neck fillet, fat
• 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 2 onions, peeled, halved
• ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• ¼ tsp ground allspice
• 1 sprig rosemary eaves finely
• 500ml chicken or lamb
• 300ml cold water
• 2 Cox apples peeled and
• 4-5 large fresh sage leaves,
• Ready roll pastry
• 1 egg, whisked
Mix the flour with some salt and pepper and coat the lamb pieces. Fry in small batches until brown. Fry the onion until softened. Transfer the lamb and onion to a large heavy pan or casserole dish.
Add the nutmeg, allspice and rosemary to the pan then pour over the stock and water. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer until the lamb is tender and the liquid is a gravy consistency. Season to taste then leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Mix the apples together with the sage and some black pepper and set side.
Line your pie tin with pastry and add half of the lamb mixture, then half of the apple mixture, then lamb and then apple again.
Top with pastry and decorate with lattice made from strips of leftover pastry. Brush with egg wash. Pierce a hole in the centre of the lid to let steam escape during cooking.
Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes.
If you wish, serve with spring greens, baby carrots and buttery mash for the perfect pie dinner. Not forgetting some extra gravy! Yum!