Mutton Pot Pie

An early Cumbrian recipe still made in many places in the north of England. It is really a form of pottage.

A large heavy saucepan with straight sides and a lid is required. When serving, it is necessary to cut out one section of crust in order to lift off the remainder. It is intended to be served straight on to plates, but the crust can be lifted and cut into portions and the meat and vegetables poured on to a dish.


  • 2 lb (1 kg) fillet end of leg of lamb
  • 2 lamb’s kidneys, skinned, cored and cut in quarters
  • ½ lb (240 g) haricot or butter beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 slices streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • ½ lb (240 g) carrots, peeled and diced
  • ½ lb (240 g) turnips or parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 5 cups (1.2 litres) any good stock (may be made up with stock cubes)
  • 1 lb (½ kg) suet crust
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour


Drain the beans and put them in a saucepan with fresh water. Add a little salt, simmer for 1 hour and drain.

Meanwhile, bone the lamb and cut in ½ inch (1cm) cubes. Roll the cubes and the kidneys in seasoned flour. Fry the bacon in the butter in a saucepan. When it begins to crisp, put in the lamb and kidneys and shake well. Roll the onions, carrots and other root vegetables in seasoned flour, add them to the pan and continue frying for 5 minutes with the lid on, shaking well from time to time.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the stock, which should almost cover the meat and vegetables. Add the beans and the thyme and season rather highly. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer while you roll out the suet crust to about inches (3 cm) thick and exactly the size of the pan. Mark out the circle to be cut with the pan lid. Roll any crust that is left into very small dumplings, flour them well and drop them in the pan, pushing them down into the stock. Put on the suet crust, which should rest on the meat and vegetables and should not come quite to the top of the pan, so that it has room to rise When the lid has been replaced, and continue simmering.

After 1 hour the pot pie should be ready. When the lid is lifted the crust will be well risen, fluffy, and flavoured by the stew.