Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grandma Naylor's meat and potato pie

Grandma Naylor was my Maternal Grandmother and though she had a very limited repertoire of very simple food, she cooked what she did very well, and meat and potato pie (after her Yorkshire puddings) was my favourite.  She was born and brought up in Yorkshire in the north of England and believe this dish is local to the area that she lived in.

It is very plain with no spices no herbs this was the England of mid 20th century, but don't be put off by that it has a wonderful simple clean flavour and well worth making on a cold rainy early winter day. This can be a week night dinner if you start the night before which is what I did.

Take 2lbs of a cheaper cut of beef (I used top sirloin steak cut up) Cut into cubes and place into a pot and cover with lightly salted water.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  At first a rather nasty scum will appear on the top, don't be put off it will soon disappear.

Nasty scum soon to diasappear
Simmer the beef for about 1 1/2 to two hours until the beef is very tender, you will probably have to top up the water a couple of times.  At this point you can put the pot into the fridge until you are ready to bake the pie, I did this yesterday, so that when I came home today I just had to finish off the pie.

Add 4 medium potatoes cut in to large chunks, I used yukon gold, but any type of potato will do, I did not peel them, though my Grandmother would have always peeled.

Potatoes soaking up the meat juices
Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes and then pour into a pie plate.

Waiting for the pastry

Short crust pastry

8oz all purpose flour (one cup)
3oz lard cut into small cubes (1/3 cup)
1oz butter cut into small cubes (1/8 cup)
1/2 teaspoon of salt.
1/2 cup of cold water with a teaspoon of vinegar added.

This is the same pastry as for Bramley apple pie, but with out the sugar and using water and vinegar instead of orange juice.

Rub all the dry ingredients together and then add the water and stir with a fork until just combined.  Roll out and drape on top of the meat and potatoes.  If you are not comfortable with pastry you could use a bought pastry or frozen puff pastry would probably work well.

Bake in a 350 for about 1/2 an hour until the pastry is golden and the potatoes are cooked through.

Finished pie
The potatoes are almost the best part as they have soaked up all the meat juices, this maybe plain and unadorned, but well worth trying.

This made one pie for 4 and a small one for my Father, which if he is reading this is in the fridge for you for dinner tomorrow


  1. i came across this recipe and was taken back to my years with my grandmother living with us when i was a child. she too was from England, Yorkshire and made this same pie but added onions to it too and put it in a large baking bowl that was very deep. we'd love when she made it as she would also bake some fantastic pies! (i too loved her plum pudding so much and made some the other year for xmas but it wasn't as good as hers!)
    thanks for sharing this recipe

    1. Her next door neighbour put onions in hers, but I believe my grandmother had an aversion to onions and so none were included. Isn't wonderful how flavoures can take you back in time.