Hearty, honest, warming and filling, it’s no wonder pies are considered a northern speciality. This spectacular recipe for a Cumbrian Chimney Pot Pie, made with flavoursome, melt-in-the mouth Herdwick mutton, takes some beating. Cooked in the pressure cooker until the meat is so tender it falls apart, it is topped with a crisp, rich pastry, and for a real talking point, use the mutton shank bone as the ‘chimney’ pie funnel – but it tastes great with a traditional "blackbird pie funnel" too.
For the shortcrust pastry
200g butter placed in the freezer
350g plain flour
6tbsp chilled water
For the Filling
50g plain flour
2-2.5kg dry-aged Cumbrian Herdwick mutton or lamb (with or without the shank bone)
2tbsp olive oil
4 onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic
2tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
600ml dark Cumbrian Ale
300ml beef stock
Hearty, honest, warming and filling, it’s no wonder pies are considered a northern speciality. This spectacular recipe for a Cumbrian Chimney Pot Pie, made with flavoursome, melt-in-the mouth Herdwick mutton, takes some beating. Cooked in the Sage Appliances Fast Slow Pro multi-cooker on the pressure cooker setting until the meat was so tender it fell apart, it is then topped with a crisp, rich pastry, and for a real talking point, you can use the mutton shank bone as the ‘chimney’ pie funnel – but it tastes just as good with a traditional "blackbird pie funnel" too. (Recipe slightly adapted from Booths)
For the filling: Season the flour with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut the mutton into large pieces and dust in the seasoned flour. Heat the olive oil in the "Fast Slow Pro" multi-cooker and set the cooker to sauté to brown the pieces of mutton, for about 10 minutes.
Remove the mutton from the multi-cooker after browning, add a little more oil and sauté the onions for a 5 minutes then add the garlic and fresh rosemary and sauté for a further 2 minutes.
Tip in any remaining flour and cook for another minute then pour in the ale and stock. Return the mutton (including the bone) to the multi-cooker, and set to "pressure cooker" setting, medium pressure, steam release natural and set the timer to cook for 45 minutes, until the meat falls apart and the sauce is rich and thickened. Remove the shank bone from the dish, reserving it for the pie and flake the meat into pieces. Leave to cool.
For the pastry: Sift the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Hold the frozen butter using a piece of greaseproof paper and grate it on a large coarse grater straight into the flour. Working quickly, stir the butter and flour together and then sprinkle on the chilled water and mix together to make a dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.
Prepare the pie: Fill a 2½ litre pie dish with the cooled mutton filling, leaving any excess juice to one side to serve as gravy. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and about 2.5cm wider than the dish. Cut a 2cm strip from the pastry. Brush the rim of the dish with a little water and place the pastry strip around the rim, pressing it down.
Sit the reserved shank bone in the centre of the pie filling - or use a ceramic pie funnel if not using the shank bone.
Cut a slit in the remaining pastry for the shank bone or pie funnel. Place the pastry lid over the top and slide it over the bone. Press down the edges of the pastry to seal it. Trim off any excess pastry and crimp the edges with a fork or between your thumb and forefinger.
Brush with beaten egg and bake at 180°C/Fan 160°C/gas mark 4 for 30–35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
Serve warm with extra gravy, seasonal vegetables and potatoes.
NB: You can also cook the filling in a covered dish over a very gentle heat for about 2½–3 hours until the meat falls apart and the sauce is rich and thickened.