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Roots Recipe: Meg's Raised Pie

I realise there’s a feeling amongst home cooks that the Raised Pie is a sort of holy grail of pastry making. I’m going to suggest we push that myth away and just get on and have a go at what, after all, is the sort of food our grandmothers would have made with the simple ingredients that were around them. As my husband so kindly pointed out, the sort of food that you can “bump along in a tractor with”! Perhaps in honour of him I should call this my ‘Farmer’s Pie’. 

  • 125g Lard                                   
  • 75g Butter
  • 550g Wholegrain flour               
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg plus one for glazing         
  • 175ml Water
  • 500g Chicken off the bone, chopped, thigh and breast meat
  • 500g Good quality sausage meat or a mixture of chopped belly and shoulder
  • 200g Streaky Bacon (unsmoked or smoked)
  • A small bunch of fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • Good chicken stock and gelatine leaf

You will also need two 5” deep loose bottomed cake tins and a small funnel with which to fill the cooked pie with liquid stock that will set as jelly between the meat and pastry layer.

Begin with the preparation of the hot water crust pastry. Gently melt the butter and lard in a saucepan with the water, warm it through until fully combined. Measure the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl then add the fat and water mixture, roughly bring these ingredients together with a stiff spoon. Add the beaten egg and continue to work into a smooth pastry. Flatten the ball of pastry to a disc shape, wrap in cling film and chill thoroughly. While the pastry is chilling, prepare the contents for the pie. I like to chop together 2/3 of the chicken meat with the chopped bacon, sausagemeat, fresh herbs and spices, reserving some chicken to create a middle layer in the pie.

When the pastry is fully chilled, it then needs to recover a little warmth before you will be able to roll it out to the line the deep cake tins. Reserve 1/4 of the pastry to make the round lid. Keep the pastry fairly thick to safely hold the contents. Work from the base of the pie and up the sides, smoothing, removing trapped air and moulding the pastry to ensure no gaps, tears or shortfall!
To fill the pie, begin with making a flat disc shape of the mixed meats to put in the bottom, then a layer of the chopped chicken breast, finishing with the remaining chopped meat in another disc shape on top, firming it down. Leave a good inch above the meat to the top of the pastry so the lid can be properly secured. Cut the round lid from the remaining pastry, brush with egg and lay over the meat filling. Then bring together the two edges of pastry, pinching them to seal them well together and last of all make a good hole in the top of the pie to for filling with jelly after baking.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 30 minutes then reduce the temperature slightly and bake for a further hour at 160°C. At this point carefully press the pie out of the tin, leaving it on its base, brush it all over with egg wash and return to the oven for 15 minutes to set the glaze. Allow the pie to cool slightly.

Prepare the chicken stock (this can be homemade or ready prepared) warming it gently to dissolve a leaf of gelatine, then carefully ‘fill’ the still warm pie, funnelling the liquid jelly into the hole in the top of the pie, until it begins to seep back out, indicating that it is full. Allow the pie to cool fully, wrap in silicone paper and refrigerate. The pie will last for at least a week (if your family can hold back from eating it!).

For more information, some extra background, hints and tips are available at www.familyfarmshop.co.uk/recipes

Kindly provided by Meg of Roots Family Farm Shop at Rushwick on the Bransford Road - 01905 421104