Meat and potato pie

My my mum was a great pastry cook and would make steak and kidney pie, which was always filled with diced meat, onions (sometimes but not always carrots) and a really rich shiny gravy. It seemed to improve the next day for any leftovers to be reheated ( being perverse, I also liked it cold!) It was a beautiful looking and delicious meal, and of course, economical, making a small amount of meat go further. She would make a normal short crust pastry, flour, lard and margarine, pinch of salt, bound with cold water, glazed with a beaten egg, which was as light as anything and yet strong enough to hold the contents.

When I moved to the north of England I came across meat and potato pies which as an eighteen year-old, I found astonishing…a meat pie, with potato in it? Actually in it? … and served with pickled red cabbage? What? Good gracious, I thought! When you’re eighteen you think you are so knowledgeable and modern and not set in your ways like adults, and yet in actual fact you are the most narrow and opinionated and traditional person!

Of course once I actually ate a meat and potato pie I just loved it; a pale suet crust, soft and melting, delicious gravy in which floated the meat and small cubes of potato, the crunchy, spicy pickled cabbage, mmmm…

Someone asked about my mother-in-law’s school dinner cookery book, and whether there was a meat and potato pie recipe… well, no, but there is a recipe for steak pie to which I guess you could add potatoes…

For 96 portions cooked in six tins (it is a school dinner recipe after all!)

  • short crust pastry made with 6¾lb of flour
  • OR/ flaky pastry made with 5lb flour
  • 18lb chuck steak/ or 16lb chuck steak and 2lb kidney
  • 1 lb flour
  • salt and pepper
  • stock
  • Marmite
  1. toss the trimmed and cubed meat in the seasoned flour
  2. put into baking tins, add stock and Marmite, cover and cook until tender
  3. cover with pastry, brush with egg or milk to glaze, cook in a hot oven until the pastry is done and golden brown

… or there is this recipe for ‘meat pasty’ which does have potato, but has minced beef; this is again for 96, cooked in five tins (or could be made into individual pasties for 100)

  • short crust pastry 7½lb flour to fill 5 tins/ short crust pastry with 9lb flour to make 100 pasties
  • 12 lb minced beef (it says ‘meat’ which left it open to school cooks to use what they had!!)
  • ½ lb onions (this seems a tiny amount!) chopped or minced
  • 1½ lb potatoes chopped or minced ( I don’t think I’d mince the potatoes, just chop them finely)
  • pepper and salt
  • stock
  • Marmite
  1. mix mince and vegetables, stock, Marmite and seasoning
  2. line the tins with pastry and fill with meat mixture, cover with remaining pastry
  3. brush with egg or milk and cook in a moderate oven for about 2 hours until brown and cooked ‘right through’

I am going to go on the search for an authentic Lancashire meat and potato pie recipe now!


  1. Isabel Lunn

    There seems to be a bit of confusion here. What you describe as being served with red cabbage is known in Oldham and probably in other parts of Lancashire as potato or ‘tater pie. Although it is called a pie it onlt has a crust on top and is generally shortcrust not suet. Meat and potato pies are individual pies and are usually bought from bakers or chip shops where they are served with peas or chips or both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      Thank you! I should have asked you in the first place! This is what comes of a foreigner writing about food – mind you I lived in the north for more than any other place in all my life!
      I just remember my amazement when I first came to Manchester and had this delicious thing I’d never come across before… I think I must have just thought any pie with potatoes in was the same thing… maybe I should make both and see which we prefer!


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