Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Who ate all the Pies? Celebrate British Pie week with 5 delicious homemade, quick and easy pie recipes.

I love a good pie. In fact, I dont think you can really beat a good pie and certainly if you're in the mood for pie nothing else will suffice. And thanks to the heros that invented 'national weeks', this week is National Pie Week, and the humble, delicious pie deserves nothing less a week of admiration and indulgence from everyone. Whether your a chicken and leek fan, a fish pie lover, a shepherds pie admirer or a good old steak and ale devotee, you now have an excuse to eat pie all week guilt free and happily, so get scoffing.

There isnt one pie i could devote my pie admiration to and therefore here are my top five pie recipes - and theyre all really quick and simple. Ps. All Pies must be served with Petit Pois

1. Steak and Ale Pie
4 x rashes of bacon finely chopped
200g Mushrooms finely sliced
2 x sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
1 x Onion finely sliced
2 x Rump Steaks cut into small chunks (you can use any cut of beef but everything else in this recipe is cheap so why not treat your self?)
1 tbsp Flour
1/2 can of ale or beer
1/2 pint of beef stock
1 x sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Sweat the onion on a low heat for about 5 mins. Add the rosemary, bacon and mushrooms, turn the heat to medium and fry for a further 5 mins. Then add the steak and cook for a further 5 minutes. Pop in the flour and mix around for a minute to soak up all the juices. Mix in the ale and beef stock, and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a pie dish and place the pre-rolled pastry sheet on top. Brush with egg and then place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

2. Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Pie
4 x Chicken Breasts, cut into big chunks
4 x leeks roughly sliced
400g Mushrooms finely sliced
2 x Garlic Cloves finely chopped
2 x Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp Dried Tarragon
1 tbsp Flour
3/4 Pint of Chicken Stock

Preheat oven to 180 degrees In a large frying pan, fry the chicken in a little olive oil until it starts turing white. Then add the leeks, mushrooms, garlic, thyme and tarragon and cook for 10 minutes on a medium/high heat. Then stir in the flour to soak up all the juices. Then stir in the chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce is thick. Transfer the mixture to the pie dish and place the pre-rolled pastry sheet on top. Brush with egg and then place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. 

3. Shepherds Pie
1 x Onion
2 x Garlic Cloves
500g Minced Lamb
400g Carrots finely chopped
2 x Rosemary Sprigs
1 tsp fresh sage finely chopped
1/2 pint chicken stock
600g Potatoes
knob of butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Pop the potatoes on to boil. Fry off the onion and garlic in a large pan on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the Lamb and cook for 6-8 minutes until it turns brown. Then add the carrots, rosemary, sage and chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and Mash the Potatoes. Pop the lamb mixture in a baking dish and cover with mash. Sprinkle over some rosemary and a few knobs of butter, season and pop in the oven for 25 minutes. 

4. Salmon and Butternut Squash
1 x Squash
1 x garlic clove finely chopped
1/2 a lemons zest
600g Potatoes
4 x Carrots
1/2 pint Milk
1/4 tsp fresh taragon finely chopped
2 x spring fresh lemon Thyme
4 x Salmon Fillets cut into small large chunks
1 x Squash
1 x veg stock cube

Prepare the squash by cutting lengthways in half and then half again, drizzle with olive oil, garlic and lemon zest and place in the oven for 25 mins. Place the potatoes on to boil. Separately place the carrots on to boil. In a large pan put the milk, tarragon and thyme and gently bring to a simmer. Once simmering turn the heat to very low and place the salmon in the milk. Cook the salmon in the milk for about 10 minutes. Once the Squash is cooked, peel it and add it to the salmon and milk with the drained carrots and vegetable stock cube. Then simmer for 5 mins. Drain the potatoes and mash. Transfer salmon mixture to an oven dish and cover with the potato. Cook for 25 mins until the potato is golden. 

 5. Apple Pie with Raspberry Sauce and Ice Cream
70g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
8 x Apples Cut into 8 wedges each (any apples will work but I like to mix it up with half bramley cooking apples and half cox or pink ladies)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1 beaten egg
2 x Pre-rolled Short-crust Pastry or make your own.
A tub of Vanilla Ice-cream

For the Raspberry Sauce: 
200g Raspberries (if you can pick fresh definitely do, supermarket raspberries just arent the same, or by organic from your local grocer!)
100g Caster Sugar
1 x Vanilla pod / 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter with the caster sugar in a large pan. Then add the apples, cinnamon and mixed spice and cook on a low heat for 20 mins with a lid off. Take the apples off the heat and place in a separate dish to cool. Meanwhile prepare your pastry base. Cut two circles, the size of your pie dish. Place the first layer on the bottom of the pie dish so that it just laps over the edge. Drain your cooled apples and place on top on the pastry, and add two tbsps of the drained juice and then cover with the remaining pastry. Press the edges of the pastry together. Brush the top with a beaten egg. Prick the top of the pastry three or four times. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes until golden. 

For the Raspberry Sauce, place the raspberries in a pan with a splash of hot water, the sugar and vanilla. Gently simmer for about 10 mins. Strain and drizzle over the pie with a big dollop of vanilla ice-cream. 

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