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Sibton Park

Kent, England

British Pie Week at Sibton Park in Kent

Posted by Luci Ackers on Apr 26, 2016
British Pie Week at Sibton Park in Kent
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British Pie Week is the nation's excuse to get making, baking and eating as many pies as possible.

This year the event ran from 7th – 13th March 2016. Did you do anything to celebrate? At Sibton Park down in Kent there is always something going on! Find out more about Sibton Park here.

Why pie?

Pie is a classic British dish that is eaten and loved throughout the country. And this annual event, initiated by the Jus-Rol pastry company, aims to celebrate these pastry filled inventions and get people experimenting with flavours. Pies first took off properly in England in Medieval times and were created for convenience more than anything. Throughout the centuries, however, pies have adapted to suit those who cook them, and chefs began to get creative. Now we have all kinds of pie in Britain and different regional variations across the country.

To really get into the spirit of the week, a British Pie Day was organised at Sibton Park in Kent and five different regional variations were baked and set out for the guests to enjoy a lunch-time tasting session, complete with real ale, to vote for their favourites:

  • Chicken and Leek – represented Wales
  • Lamb and Potato – represented The North
  • Pork, Apple and Cider – represented the West Country
  • Steak and Ale – represented the South East
  • Chicken and Haggis – represented Scotland

Steak and Ale came in first place, though all were enjoyed immensely! Tables were set up in the sunshine at the front of the property, guests got stuck in and even a troop of local morris dancers joined in on the action. For a traditionally themed feast, traditional entertainment seemed appropriate: these morris dancers came accompanied by their Hooden Horse, a mascot of the Kentish Morris dance that dates back to the 18th century.

Overall it was a really enjoyable day, and if you would like to find out more about British Pie Week, or for tips and recipes visit their website

The Winner

So how do you fancy making the winning pie for yourself? Here's the recipe for those of you who'd like to give it a go!

Sibton's Steak & Ale Pie

Ingredients

300g Ready to roll puff pastry (we used Jus-Rol™)

60g Unsalted butter, cubed

4 tbsp Rapeseed oil

900g Beef skirt / braising steak or stewing beef, diced (we used meat from Lower Hardres Farm Shop)

25g Plain flour, generously seasoned with sea salt & freshly ground pepper

2 Large white onions, peeled & roughly chopped

2 Red onions, peeled & roughly chopped

2-3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

300ml Good-quality stout or dark ale (we used The Firkin Alehouse)

250g Chestnut mushrooms, halved

3 Large carrots, chopped into rounds

325ml Beef stock (using 3-4 cubes)

1-2 tbsp tomato puree

4 Sprigs fresh thyme leaves

2 Sprigs Fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 Fresh bay leaves

2 Eggs beaten, for glaze

2 tbsp Cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water - optional

Method

Preheat oven to 220°C / 200ºC fan assisted / Gas Mark 7.

Place a large casserole pan over a medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and the butter, followed by the onions, garlic, thyme & rosemary, slowly cooking for 15 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until soft and starting to turn golden. Remove from the pan and put to one side.

Evenly coat the beef in the seasoned flour, add the rest of the oil to a medium heat, then add the beef and stir until browned.

Return the onion mix to the pan, along with the carrots & tomato puree, stir well to combine. Add the ale or stout, along with sufficient beef stock to just cover the mixture (you may not need to use all stock) & bay leaves. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. If you feel it needs thickening slightly, add the cornflour mixture.

Simmer for 40 - 50 minutes, until the beef is tender, stir very occasionally.

Remove from the heat, add the mushrooms and put aside to cool. Remove the bay leaves and place the mixture into a pie dish with a pie funnel in the centre to support the pastry during baking.

Dust a clean surface with flour and roll your pastry out large enough to cover the pie dish, allowing for some overlap around the sides (approx. 1.5 cm in thickness). Using a sharp knife, cut away strips of pastry from the overlapped edges.

Brush the pastry with some beaten egg to avoid sticking to the sides, then gently drape over the pie filling to form a lid. Pinch the edges in around the dish to keep it nice and tidy and make a hole in the centre, just over the pie funnel, to allow any steam to escape.

With the cut-offs, you can create a patterned or textured rim around the top of the pie dish, such as leaf shapes, as a finishing touch.

Brush with the remaining beaten egg and place the dish on a baking tray (in case of leakage). Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and risen.

Leave pie to rest for 5 - 10 minutes, before serving with chips or locally sourced (boiled or mashed) potatoes, steamed greens or peas – a side of traditional morris dancing optional!

NB – For something a little different, why not try dividing the mixture to make smaller, individual pies?

Find out how to stay at Sibton Park yourself by simply popping your details in at the bottom of the page.

FIND OUT HOW YOU TOO CAN STAY HERE
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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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