Luckily we have a pretty all pie knowing chef, James Ferguson, Head Chef of Beagle, to share his favourite pie dishes with you - and their recipes!
Mutton and Potato Pie
This pie is a really good dish for cold winters nights and is a classic in Yorkshire where I’m from. One of my first food memories is of my Grandmother on my Mum’s side cooking this for my brother and me on a Friday when she was tasked with looking after us. The pastry was always thick enough to soak up the essential juices and it was always served with mushy peas and brown sauce. Mutton has become a sadly under used meat in Britain. Once a staple of the working class home it has been almost completely ousted by lamb. If you can get Mutton for this dish then the results will be that much more flavourful.
To make a pie for 6
For the filling:
2kg mutton neck (cut in to around 2cm pieces)
4 medium size king Edward potatoes (2cm chunks)
2 turnips (1cm chunks)
2 carrots (1cm chunks)
2 large onions (sliced thinly)
3 peeled cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
1 small bunch of thyme
2 glasses red wine
2l stock (preferably lamb)
Salt and pepper
For the pastry:
500g self-raising flour
250g beef suet
300ml very cold water
Salt and pepper
2 beaten eggs (for egg wash)
In a heavy based casserole pot, colour off the Mutton in batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the sliced onion to the fat, which the mutton has created, and sweat on a medium heat until soft and sweet but not coloured. Add the potatoes, carrots and turnips, cook for a further 5 minutes. Put the mutton back in with the vegetables along with the herbs and the red wine. Reduce the wine by half and then add the stock. Bring to a simmer, season and then cover the pot. Place in an oven set on 140c for approx. 2 hours until the mutton is tender.
To make the pastry, tip the self-raising flour and suet in to a large bowl and season. Steadily add the water, mixing with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together. Now pull together with your hands to form a dough (trying not to work the pastry too much in the process). Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for at least half an hour.
To make the pie, place the mutton mixture in a lipped pie dish so that the filling comes right to the top. The mixture should be quite wet as the Mutton braising liquid is an essential part of the dish. Now roll the pastry out so that it is about 2cm thick and wide enough to cover your pie with an inch to spare. Egg wash the lip of your pie dish and stick the pastry lid on top, making sure it is completely sealed all around. Egg wash the top and bake in the oven at 180c for approximately 1hr until golden brown.
Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta Pie)
My Grandmother on my Fathers side was Greek and always made this traditional pie when she came to visit. It works perfectly hot or cold and is best accompanied by a nice crisp gem lettuce salad.
1.5kg fresh spinach, tough stalks removed
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
I small bunch parsley, stalks removed and finely chopped
1 small bunch dill, stalks removed and finely chopped
1 small bunch mint, stalks removed and finely chopped
400g feta, crumbled
200g Parmesan, finely grated
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
A few gratings nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml olive oil
About 12 sheets filo pastry
Set an oven on 180c. Thoroughly wash the spinach in a large colander to remove all traces of grit. Now heat up a large saucepan, add a knob of butter and wilt the spinach. Remove from the pan and when cool enough to handle squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Chop the cooked spinach and combine with the parsley, dill, mint, feta, Parmesan, pine nuts, nut meg and seasoning.
Brush a 30cm by 20cm by 5cm ovenproof dish with olive oil and lay in a sheet of filo lengthways (keep the remaining filo covered with a damp cloth while you work to avoid drying out). Brush the filo with oil and add another layer. Repeat this so you have 5 layers of filo as a base. Lay on 2 further layers crossways, leaving them hanging over the sides and brush these with oil also. Spread the filling evenly over the filo, fold over the crossways layers and then the edges from the lengthways layers. Cover the top with the remaining filo, brushing with oil as you go; brush the top with oil. Bake for 30\35 minutes until golden.
James Ferguson Biography: James’s passion for cooking was ignited at a young age, cooking alongside his father at the family restaurant in Yorkshire.
In 2002, James moved to London where he trained for 3 years under Angela Hartnett at the Connaught. The modern European restaurant drew heavily on Hartnett's Italian roots and James was part of the team that received a Michelin star in 2004.
In 2006 James was appointed sous chef of the Picasso room at Soho’s historic L'Escargot where he worked under executive chef Warren Geraghty. The Picasso room boasts elegant formal dining and James gained extensive knowledge of French cuisine.
James’s next move saw him take a step away from fine dining as took over as head chef at the critically acclaimed Rochelle Canteen in Bethnal Green in 2008. Working closely with Margot Henderson, James produced modern British food menus to much acclaim.
Since March 2013, James Ferguson has lead his own kitchen at Beagle, a critically acclaimed restaurant offering seasonal, produce-led British cooking. Set within 3 beautifully renovated railway arches in Hoxton, Beagle features a daily changing menu and much of James’ cooking uses a traditional wood grill.
For any other information, please contact:
Paul McEntee, Mc&T, 07791156326, email@example.com
Beagle Press Information:
Address: 397 - 399 Geffrye Street, London, E2 8HZ
Restaurant Seating Capacity: 55
Bar Seating Capacity: 45
Exterior Seating Capacity: 60
Opening Times: Monday - Friday: 6pm - 12am and Saturday - Sunday: 11am - 12am
Coffee Shop: Monday - Sunday: 7am - 7pm