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Miranda Gore Browne: Stand up for British farming

Miranda Gore Browne explains why Britain's traditional and regional recipes - like shepherd's or cottage pie - should be celebrated, and how you can support British farmers by buying Red Tractor meat. She writes:

Miranda Gore Brown Stand up for British Farming Pie Web Article_72183

Cumberland pie, Westmorland pie, Denby Dale Pie, Lancashire hotpot, Yorkshire pudding, shepherd’s pie or cottage pie. Puff pastry, hot raised pies, suet crusts, mashed potatoes, sliced potatoes, cold or with gravy, beef, lamb, mutton or chicken. Regional recipes ooze from every part of the country and honour the food that’s grown locally.

They are part of our heritage and, of our landscape and we must treasure them, recreate them and celebrate them. They contain our past and our future. Our legacy of a land that has been farmed and grazed and managed for generations to provide food for us all and by farmers and farming communities that need valuing and loving more than ever.

Sustainable meat reared on the grasslands that define our landscape needs our support. A simple way to do this is to buy Red Tractor meat, cook with it, and educate ourselves and others on the environmental benefits this brings. 

Stand up for farmers and share your knowledge. British farmers lead the way in food standards and in management of our environment – something all of us need to be animated about and defend. 

Do you want to know more about the British livestock industry and find out why British methods of farming are part of the solution to the climate change challenge? You might be interested in:

Miranda's recipe for shin of beef, leek and potato pie with cheese pastry

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A few of my favourite things packed into a pie and crowned with golden cheese pastry. I’m always asking my butcher, or the team on the meat counter, which cuts of meat I should try, which don’t get bought so often, and I challenge you to do the same.

This shin of beef is meltingly good when gently and slowly cooked, but any similar cut can be popped in instead. I love a pie that’s a whole meal in one dish and this is such a recipe. A thick layer of tender beef, leeks and mushrooms and gravy, a topping of buttery potatoes and then crumbly cheddar pastry. At its best steaming hot, but also great cut into wedges and eaten cold as leftovers

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 6 shallots (or 2 brown onions), peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 200g brown mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour
  • 600g shin of British beef – cut into chunks
  • 250ml beer
  • 400ml water with two stock cubes
  • 500g potatoes, washed but not peeled and finely sliced
  • Salt and pepper

For the pastry:

  • 340g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 165g butter (cold or frozen and grated)
  • 75g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 8-10 tablespoons of cold water

Method

To make the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan or cast-iron casserole dish.
  3. Add the shallots and fry until starting to soften. Add the leeks and 1 tablespoon of butter and cook until soft.
  4. Take the leeks and shallots out of the pan and put them in a bowl.
  5. Brown the mushrooms in the remaining butter and then remove as well.
  6. Toss the beef in the flour, salt and pepper and brown in a little oil.
  7. Once it has browned, put all the vegetables back in, pour over the stock and the beer, and then put it into the oven to cook for 3-4 hours.

For the pastry:

  1. Put the flour into a large bowl, sift or whizz in the food processor.
  2. Grate in the butter and the cheese and rub in with your fingertips or whizz in the food processor.
  3. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, cutting in with a knife or mixing again in the food processor until it comes together as dough.
  4. Pop it into the fridge to rest for about half an hour or while the meat cooks.

To construct the pie:

  1. Finely slice the potatoes and par boil until they start to soften.
  2. Spoon the casseroled meat into a pie dish and layer the sliced potatoes on top.
  3. Roll out the pastry. Dip your finger in cold water and run it around the rim of the pie dish.
  4. Lift the pastry carefully on top.
  5. Use the tines of a fork to press down the edges. Cut around the edge of the pastry leaving a little overhang.
  6. Use cutters to cut out pastry shapes and stick these onto the top of the pie with a little water. Brush with a beaten egg and make a couple of holes or slits in the top of the pie.
  7. Lift onto a baking tray and pop into the preheated oven to bake for about 35 minutes.

Miranda is a food writer, home-baking expert and finalist on the first series of The Great British Bake Off. Follow her on Twitter @MirandaBakes, on Facebook, and on Instagram

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Last edited: 30 April 2020 at 13:31


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