How to cook an English meat pie

Pie header

English meat pie


Ahh meat pies and who said that the British have the worst food in the world? Heavy, filling and absolutely delicious, the meat pie is a staple in the Hitch-HikersHandbook’s kitchen and many a weekend Jon can be found slaving over a pan of bubbling meat and vegetables.

The origins

Pies were thought to have first originated with the Ancient Greeks who first came up with the idea of pastry and decided that stuffing with meat was the way to go. They were certainly not wrong. The Romans quickly adopted the dish and from them it spread to all corners of the Empire.

The name

There are many theories on why it is called a ‘pie’, with the main suggestion being that in medieval England the most common meat filling consisted of magpie. It is certain, however, that the first recorded use of the word was in 1303 and by the 14th century it was in popular use.

Pie varieties

The beauty of the savory meat pie is the sheer variety that can be used as the filling. In English pubs the steak and ale pie is the standard bearer, whilst in Ireland the steak and Guinness pie is adorned with bacon and is a great way to fit in as many unhealthy things as possible. Pies with chicken, lamb and pork are all possible and any assortment of vegetable that you see fit to throw in is encouraged.

How to make an English meat pie

What you need for an English Meat Pie (a la Jon)

Jon and his pie1 Pie tray
1 deep frying-pan or pot

500g meat – we love pork, but any type of meat will do
2/3 carrots
4/5 potatoes
2 sheets of pastry
stock cube
1 egg
4 glasses of water

In the next video in our Cultural Relay Project we teach Mehmet from Turkey how to make the most British of dishes, in exchange for being shown how to make the perfect cup of Turkish coffee. Enjoy!


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