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East End of London Pie, Mash and Liquor Recipe

We spent a few years living in London and developed a love of the east end traditional pie, mash and liquor. We asked the pie shops for the recipe, but the same old looks and 'its a secret family recipe' was the normal response. We have developed a recipe ourselves that comes close and it has become a family favourite. You can either make small individual pies, with or without bases, but for ease we make a single large pie for the family. pie, mash and liquor

Ingredients

750 grams of minced beef, the best you can afford, if you have a mincer try making your own, that way you know what's gone into it.

A couple of table spoons of vegetable oil

1 or 2 onions, finely chopped

2 or 3 garlic cloves crushed

2 tablespoons of Tomato puree

1-2 teaspoons of English mustard (dry or ready made)

100 grams of mushrooms, finely chopped

400ml of dark beer, bitter or stout is best

2 tablespoons of plain flour

1 or 2 pack of puff pastry, if your making bottoms you will need 2 packs. If you have plenty of time you could make your own but if you have busy lives like us, I'm afraid we cheat and buy this, which actually is one of the few things we buy ready made, lifes a bit short for making puff pastry!

Method

Pre heat the oven to 170c, gas mark 3. Heat the oil on the hob in an oven proof pan and brown the mince, pour off any excess fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms, mustard, beer and flour, stir well and slowly bring to the boil, season well with salt and pepper. At this stage it will smell of beer, don't be put off, this will make the best gravy when cooked.

Cover and pop in the oven for 1-2 hours. After an hour test it, if the meat is tender and the beer smell has gone it ready. If not pop back into the oven and repeat in half an hour.

You should have a rich meat filling, but do test the seasoning before you add to the pie. I know this recipe is a little vague, but its really simple and you can add or take away to get it just right for you. We sometimes add a splash of Worcestershire sauce, which lifts it further.

Next roll the pastry out to fit your chosen pie dishes, we just pop a top on. If you prefer, you can add a base, fill and seal the top with egg. Brush with egg to glaze and pop back into a hot oven 220c or gas 7, until golden, for about 15 minutes for small pies or 25 for larger ones.

Serve with Liquor if desired and a dollop of good buttery mash, some nice greens or carrots.