What Makes a Great British Pie?

British pieA staple of the British Diet, pies have been around for years.  In past times, a pie was considered a poor man’s recipe as they were generally made from easily available ingredients for the flour and the poorest cuts of meat.   But for centuries now, pies are no longer considered a meal for the masses but a delicious meal for anyone, including royalty. So what makes a great British pie so special?

Well, there are a number of elements that make a great British Pie including pastry, the filling including meat, the sauce and, more often than not, the people who make them.

Ingredients for a Great British Pie

Short Crust Pastry

Short crust pastry is the best to use in your pies as it is naturally low in fat.  This makes for sturdier pie case, meaning it won’t crumble in your hands and cover your shirt in gravy, perfect for eating on the move!

When it comes to the base, it’s always best to cook your pie in a tin, not foil. This gives the famous ‘fried bottom’ effect, which keeps the pastry base crisp and stops the pie filling from spilling out of the bottom.


For the best pie filling you should also use the freshest and best quality ingredients. For example if you’re making a pie using beef, always go for prime cuts of diced beef which contain little fat.

It’s a good idea to cook all the raw ingredients together in a pan allowing flavours to develop naturally, giving your pies a great taste.

For the sauce or gravy, we recommend slowly simmering the meat in its own juices in open-topped pans to create a rich, flavoursome gravy. This helps to give your pies a wholesome, home-cooked taste.

Different meats for Different Pies

Pies can of course contain a huge range of different fillings from sweet to savoury.  At Hugh Phillips Gower Butchers, we stock an extensive range of meats already prepared from animals sourced locally and ideal for your home-made pies.

These include:

  • Diced lamb chosen from selected cuts from the fore quarter that our qualified butchers hand cut to order. Try this recipe for a lamb, rosemary and garlic pie.
  • Beef pies can include a range of cuts including diced beef, steak and mince depending on the type of pie you are making. Our diced beef, which is perfect in this BBC Good Food Easy Steak Pie recipe, is also hand diced by our qualified butchers and selected from the fore quarter of our grass fed Welsh Beef which has been traditionally matured for extra flavour.
  • Chicken pies are also a popular choice these days and you can use diced chicken or skinless chicken fillets which you can chop up yourself. All our chicken products are from Farm Assured chickens where welfare is paramount, with guaranteed no added water. Why not try this chicken and bacon pie recipe, using  our very own smoked streaky bacon of course.

Best Online Butcher

So now you have some ideas on what to use to make a Great British Pie and which meats are best to use, you can even order your supplies from the comfort of your own home.

Our online shop, www.bestonlinebutcher.co.uk, will deliver all your meats, including  those for your pie fillings, direct to the door.  So what are you waiting for, order now for delivery this week.

Beef Pie



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