Squab Pie

Traditional dish from England’s West-Country, Squab Pie was originally made with pigeon meat mixed with fresh and dried fruit but nowadays lamb is frequently substituted. Serve it with mashed potatoes and peas for a delicious family meal.

Chilled cider would be an excellent accompaniment.

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 lb. eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 lb. best end of neck of lamb, boned and cut into slices

2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

10 prunes, stoned and coarsely chopped

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground mace

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

6 fl. oz. beef stock

8 oz. Shortcrust Pastry I

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375CF (Gas Mark 5, 190’C). With the butter, grease a large ovenproof pie dish and set aside.

Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apples. Place one-third of the meat on the bottom of the pie dish and cover with one- third of the apples. Sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of the sugar and one-third of the chopped prunes. Top with one-third of the onions.

In a small bowl, mix together the nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Season the onions with one-third of the nutmeg mixture. Continue making layers in this way until all the ingredients have been used up. Pour over the stock and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1-inch larger than the top of the pie dish. With a knife, trim the edges and cut out a ½ inch strip around the dough. Dampen the rim of the dish with water and press the dough strip on to the top of the rim.

With a pastry brush dipped in water, lightly moisten the strip.

Using the rolling pin, lift the dough on to the dish. With a knife, trim the dough and, with your fingers, crimp the edges to seal them to the strip already on the dish. With a sharp knife, cut a fairly large cross in the centre of the dough.

Using the pastry brush, coat the surface of the dough with the beaten egg.

Roll out the dough trimmings and use them to make a decoration for the top of the pie.

Place the pie in the oven and bake for ½ to 1 ½ hours or until the pastry is golden brown and the meat is tender. Remove the pie from the oven and serve immediately.

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