Meat Pie


Makes 6 servings (serving a crowd?)

Meat Pie
  • one recipe Hot Water Pastry
  • ½ lb mushrooms, cleaned and roughly cut
  • ½ lb onions (2 medium), roughly chopped
  • 2 lb beef (a streaky chuck roast works well, a lean one does not), cut into ½ inch chunks
  • grease
  • flour for dredging
  • ¼ cup red wine for deglazing the pan
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 oz consummé (1 can, gelatinized version)
  • 4 oz red currant or cherry jam

Special equipment

large frying pan for browning the meat
large mixing bowl each for filling and crust
2½ quart casserole or pudding basin for assembly (see notes)


Make the Hot Water Pastry and set aside 30 minutes to set while you make the pie filling.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Put mushrooms in a bowl at least as large as your pie basin; this is where you'll store and mix your filling. Brown onions and reserve; Dredge beef in flour and brown. Deglaze the pan, and reserve the juice. Mix meat, onions, drippings, mushrooms, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Reserve one third of the dough for your lid, and line a greased 2½ quart casserole or basin with the rest of the dough. Fill. Pour in the consummé. Form the cap in the shape of an inverted jar lid; place, seal, and cut a circular hole in the center for venting. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Remove from the oven and coat the top center section with the jam while it cools a bit before serving.


The intention had always been to make a self-standing pie shell alá Garmey, Smith, and Grigson, but after a couple of spectacular disasters, we gave up and settled for lining a pie basin instead. Which is just as well, for a self-standing meat pie is served cold, and made with more gelatin than our recipe here, lest the pie disgorge itself all over the serving platter with the very first cut. We prefer to serve a hot, family-sized pie, eschewing the labor of individual servings. See the discussion under Hot Water Pastry.

One of the benefits of a Hot Water Pastry over a Puff Pastry is that the former will absorb some of the meat’s juices as it cooks, which makes it Constable Demcher’s favourite part of the pie and why there will be no leftover crust even though this is a lot of dough for a single family-sized pie.

Nonetheless, you can turn this recipe into a self-standing one easily by dissolving some additional gelatin into the consummé and topping off the pie with more of the same as it sits cooling. The quantity of the ingredients here will make enough to fill a 10 inch by 2 inch springform cake pan (be sure to grease it) for your raised, chilled pie. But we don’t recommend serving it that way. The dough is flavourless when cold or even room temperature, and tests have demonstrated that diners much prefer this dish served hot. It was an interesting experiment: leave some cold or room-temp meat pie on the free-for-all table in an employee staff room in a nearby business, and all of the takers will reheat the dish to steamy goodness in the microwave.

While our 20-year-old notes say that the filling is based on a tradional British pork pie (albeit spiced up), when we go back to the sources, we see that the recipe is very much original. Mrs. Lovett may claim this recipe as her own, but it’s not.


It’s been traditional to decorate a meat pie with small leaves, acorns, or other filiaments made of bits of your pastry. Savory (that is, sweet) pies in Britain, however, are not decorated.

Red currant topping is traditional on both mutton and venison pie; cherry is our own invention, now a favourite. Do not omit.

We heartily recommend a hard cider as the accompanying beverage.