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traditional english cumberland pie

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