Raised Mutton Pies

As made by John Simpson, head cook to the Marquis of Buckingham, who had a great estate at Gosfield Hall, near Braintree in Essex. In January 1805, a large flat dish of these little pies was served as a side dish at a large dinner. If the pies are to be served as a main dish, creamed potatoes and peas set them off very well.

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb (360 g) lean raw lamb from the fillet end of a leg, very finely chopped (not minced)
  • cup (1.5 dl) claret, boiled to reduce it a little
  • cup (1.5 dl) good brown stock
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • ½ lb (240 g) mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb (½ kg) raised pie pastry or rough puff pastry
  • 1 well-beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Method

Stir the reduced claret into the stock, add the meat, onion, mushrooms, thyme and seasoning and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Pour off the gravy and allow it and the meat mixture to get quite cold.

Meanwhile, either mould 12 small pie cases from the raised pie pastry or roll out the rough puff pastry, cut out 12 large circles and line 12 small soufflé dishes. Cut and reserve 12 circles for lids.

Remove the grease from the top of the cold gravy. Fill the pies and put a spoonful of gravy into each. Keep the remaining gravy hot. Put the lids on the pies and make a small hole in the centre of each. Brush over with the egg and bake in a moderate to hot oven, 375° to 400°F (190° to 200°C, Gas Mark 5 to 6) for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.

When the pies are cooked, enlarge the holes in the lids a little with a skewer and carefully pour in a little extra gravy. Alternatively, cut the lids off with a very sharp knife, fill up the pies with gravy and replace the lids.

Sprinkle each pie with a little parsley and serve.

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