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Savoury Pies

Chicken Pie with Homemade Pastry

Nothing says good evening and welcome home like the aroma of a hot, homemade pie in the oven, whether you are using beef, chicken, lamb or vegetables to make it. Here we are using chicken along with vegetables, herbs, spices and seasonings, to make a fantastic dinner for the whole family. We are making homemade pastry for this pie. The pastry is made with flour, butter, egg yolk and water, to keep things easy. All you need to do is combine the ingredients and you have homemade pastry, so if you have not tried making your own before, go for it! Homemade pastry is sure to make you proud of your British pie creation.

First you need to make the dough and then it is chilled while you combine the ingredients for the filling. Finally you need to line a baking dish with pastry, then bake it blind (with baking beans or, if you do not have them, with dried pulses), fill it, and then add the topping and bake it again until it is golden brown and perfect. This wonderful chicken pie is beautiful served with mashed potatoes and some fresh vegetables on the side. Everyone will want a second helping.

Consider a recipe like this whether you want to serve small wedges before your afternoon tea snacks, or you want to serve a filling evening meal to your whole family, something you have made with love and care. The combination of chicken, pastry and vegetables makes this hearty and filling, and everyone is sure to love the light, flake, homemade pastry, as well as the rich, creamy filling this chicken pie offers.

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Devon Squab Pie

This old-fashioned lamb pie which dates back over 100 years combines lamb with fruit and spices. It is known as Devon or Devonshire squab pie, Gloucester squab pie or West Country squab pie. In Devon, this is often served with clotted cream on the side; outside of Devon, usually not. A squab usually refers to a young domestic pigeon but this pie has been made with lamb for many years. It is thought either the original pie was made with pigeon or the name comes from ‘squabble’ which means to have a disagreement about whether to make meat pie or apple pie (since this one contains both).

This very tasty pie contains lamb, apples and spices, and has a pastry lid. It is hearty and filling, and therefore perfect comfort food for the cooler seasons. It can be made as one large pie or you can use separate ramekins to make portion-sized servings. There are various versions of squab pie. In fact, in the US it is actually made with pigeons. Agatha Christie, a famous English crime novelist, created a variation with hard boiled eggs.

Devon squab pie is one of those ‘at risk’ British classic recipes because only 3 percent of teenagers surveyed in Britain had ever tasted it. Despite this, if you are interested in historical British or English recipes, Devon squab pie is worth making, because the combination of lamb, apples and spices works really nicely, and the puff pastry crust on top is delicious. Serve this with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Continue reading

Creative Sausage Plait

This delicious pie can be served hot, warm or even cold. In England it is typically served with baked beans (cooked white beans in a sweet tomato sauce) or a simple green salad. This is known as sausage plait because the pastry is plaited (braided) over the filling to make an attractive presentation. This dish can be compared to a grownup version of the humble sausage roll, but it is no harder to make; in fact the preparation is very similar. There are some hidden vegetables sneaked into this recipe, making it ideal for picky youngsters in your house. Mince the red bell peppers finely and the little ones will not know they are there.

Whether you are enjoying sausage plait for lunch or dinner, or taking a slice or two to work or a picnic, you are sure to love the different flavours and textures it offers. You can tweak the recipe however you wish, adding any herbs you happen to have or swapping the red bell pepper for another vegetables which needs to be used up. Leave out the chilli if you prefer a mild finish or add extra for added spice.

Try pork and leek sausages with sage and black pepper if you cannot get the pork and apple kind, or if you prefer something more savoury. You will need about 14 oz (400g) of sausages which is about 6 large ones. You will be using the meat and discarding the sausage casings. Why not get the kids to help make this? They can help squeeze the meat out of the sausages and even help plait the pastry over the filling. Continue reading

Parsnip-Topped Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is usually a simple mixture of ground lamb, vegetables and a creamy potato topping, but this recipe takes the basic concept and adds some tweaks. Although the ingredients might sound like an unusual combination, this is a really tasty recipe for the whole family, and you can even make double the amount and freeze the cooked pie in individual portions. The potato and parsnip topping is flavoured with turmeric, chilli, cilantro (fresh coriander), lemon juice, and butter. This goes on top of the lamb mixture, although of course you can use ground beef rather than lamb if you prefer.

The meat sauce is flavoured with curry powder, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and chickpeas. You can swap the chickpeas for frozen green peas if you prefer. Indian food is really popular in the UK, and in fact there are more curry houses in London than India! We have taken inspiration from the British love for Indian cuisine, adding some spice to this classic English dish for an unusual, delicious result, although you can reduce the amount of spice if you prefer.

You do not need to serve a side dish with this, since you have meat, vegetables and potatoes in the one dish, but if you want to, consider broccoli, asparagus or another green vegetable. You can either make one large shepherd’s pie or else make six individual ones if you have six ovenproof ramekins. If you love shepherd’s pie recipes but are in the mood for something a little more exotic, try this recipe. Continue reading

Traditional English Cumberland Pie

Cumberland pie is very similar to both shepherds’ pie and cottage pie. In fact, at first glance, it looks pretty much identical, and it is true they are all made from a ground meat mixture topped with mashed potatoes. However, Cumberland pie has toasted breadcrumbs in it, unlike the other two. These can be sprinkled on top over or under the cheese, or else combined with the cheese and potatoes to make one layer. Ground beef rather than ground lamb is the meat of choice for a traditional Cumberland pie recipe, and this pie also has vegetables in it, such as carrots, onion and perhaps celery too.

This recipe is open to interpretation. Some people like to add tabasco sauce or tomato paste, while others do not. The breadcrumbs should be homemade for the best results, rather than the dried ones you can buy in a package. Serve the finished pie with broccoli or another green vegetable on the side. Of course the pie has meat, vegetables and potatoes in it, so you do not need to serve a side dish but a green vegetable contrasts nicely and offers extra nutrients.

In the last century, textile workers, coal miners and similar would have grown up with large families and enjoyed this filling dish. Rationing ended in 1954 so a lot of people born in the 1970s and 1980s would have grandmothers who learnt their cooking skills during the rationing era, when a small amount of meat had to be stretched to go a long way because it was hard to get. A lot of these old-fashioned English pie recipes are simple and frugal for this reason. These days we have other ingredients available to liven up the dish, such as hot sauce, tomato paste, celery and other ingredients which were simply not around during and just after wartime, so take advantage of whatever is in your cupboard, use your imagination, and tweak this recipe to suit your own palate. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More