Who ate all the pies? Hopefully, everybody in Sheffield in the name of a very good cause.
March has officially become the Great Sheffield Pie Month, an upper crust fundraising initiative by the city’s St Luke’s Hospice.
Pie-oneers from all over the city are encouraged to don their aprons and serve up a tasty treat for their friends and family in exchange for a charity donation.
Richard Bucklow, head chef at The Milestone group of restaurants, says it’s a great excuse for Sheffield folk to head into their kitchens and get creative.
He says: “I don’t think there are any rules on how to make a pie.
“I have had all kinds of different pies in my time, including a shepherd’s pie with bone marrow.
“It was lovely. It had little nuggets of bone marrow through the pie, which made it really rich.”
Even if bone marrow isn’t your filling of choice, the pie is the limit for your pastry creations and you can go for something sweet or savoury, hot or cold, shortcrust or flaky.
“As long as it’s got a filling and a pastry lid or lid and base, you can do what you want,” says Richard, who works at the Milestone’s four restaurants across the city.
“Sheffield people love pie – I think it’s in our genes.
“It’s built in – my grandad liked pie, my dad liked pie, I like pie.
“My favourite pie, hands down, is the one my friend’s mum makes, which is called a cheese and onion plate pie. I don’t know what she puts in it and how she makes it, as it’s a family secret, but it is delicious.”
In celebration of the Great Sheffield Pie Month, Richard has shared two of his favourite pie recipes – a chicken, mushroom and tarragon pie with puff pastry lid, and a spiced shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash.
The event is all about supporting Sheffield’s only hospice, which gets less than a quarter of its funding from the government and therefore relies on public donations to keep it running.
Peter Hartland, hospice chief executive, says: “This is the third year we’ve been encouraging our supporters to get baking and we think 2015 will be our biggest success yet. Simply preparing a basic pie and sharing it with friends could make such a major difference to St Luke’s as we continue to provide support for all the people of Sheffield.
“Every Great Sheffield Pie Month event you host or attend will help us to the £4.9 million we need annually to carry on caring for our patients, their families and friends throughout the city.”
St Luke’s cares for adults who have incurable illnesses. The hospice aims to control their symptoms, alleviate pain and give them the best possible quality of life without charging a penny.
Great Sheffield Pie Month supporters can hold events either at home or at work, in bars or restaurants or in your local community centre.
To register to host an event, call 0114 235 7551, or visit St Luke’s Hospice Pie Month
Richard Bucklow’s recipes
Chicken, mushroom and
250g button mushrooms, sliced
1kg chicken legs, diced with bones removed
20g tarragon (pick and chop the leaves, reserve the stalks and chop those too)
200ml chicken stock
200ml white wine
10 sprigs thyme
2 onions, diced
Puff pastry, rolled out to cover your pie dishes
In a hot pan sear off the chicken leg meat then take out of the pan and put to one side. Add the butter to the same pan and once foaming add the onions. Cook with a lid on for five minutes. When the onions have softened slightly add the sliced mushrooms and tarragon stalks then cook for a further five minutes with the lid on.
When the mushrooms are cooked add the flour, cook out for a minute then gradually add the white wine followed by the stock and cream.
Add the seared chicken leg meat back to this and leave simmering until it has reduced by half.
Add the chopped tarragon leaves, check the seasoning - you can the juice of a lemon if the mixture needs to be freshened up - then put into dishes.
Place the puff pastry lid on top, brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven at 180C for 10 to 12 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Homely approach in friend’s memory
It’s not just the pro chefs who can get a piece of the action during the Great Sheffield Pie Month.
Amateur chef Steve Andrews is among the hospice supporters ready to get baking. For the second year running, Steve is preparing all the pies himself for his event, which he will host at home in Heeley.
Steve said: “Having recently lost a good friend who was a patient at St Luke’s I now know even more about the fantastic levels of care offered by Sheffield’s only hospice and the Great Sheffield Pie Month is a great way to get involved.
“Making a few pies to share with friends isn’t very difficult at all – and this year I’m planning to experiment with some new flavours to add to my choice of old favourites.”
Spiced shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash
1kg sweet potatoes (peeled, roughly diced and placed in a pan covered in water)
1kg lamb mince
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 red chillies, diced
3 cloves of garlic
50g tomato purée
750g beef stock
3g ground cayenne pepper
6g smoked paprika
The best thing in which to bake a sShepherd’s pPie is a casserole pot, but if you don’t have one of these a large, heavy-based pan will suffice.
Put the casserole pot on the hob on a high heat. While the pan is heating up, season the lamb mince generously with salt and pepper.
Once the pan is hot, add a little vegetable oil then fry the mince. Cook the mince until it has gone a dark shade of brown. If the mince begins to boil when it releases its juices, tip out some of the liquid and add a little extra oil to get it frying again. You may need to do this in a few stages depending on the size of your casserole pot or pan. When all the meat is cooked, put to one side.
Add 25g of the butter to the pan on a medium heat then add the celery. When this begins to soften add the carrots, then the onions, shallots and finally the garlic and chilli.
If the pan starts to become a little dry at any stage, add a little extra butter. The vegetables should be translucent in colour.
Once all the vegetables have softened, add in the tomato paste, give it a good mix and cook out for a few minutes. Add the red wine then reduce that until it has almost gone.
Add the mince back to the pot followed by the stock.
At this stage, put the sweet potatoes on to to cook. After 20 minutes the potatoes should be soft enough to mash. Mash the potato with 50g of butter. Once you are happy with the consistency add the cayenne and paprika then season to taste. Simmer and reduce this down by three-quarters so the mix is nice and thick. Season the pie mixture to taste, then cover with the mash and bake for 10 minutes at 180C.