Gloucestershire Squab Pie is a traditional pie served in the rural county of Gloucestershire, in the South West of England, in and around the farms of Cheltenham, Cirencester and Gloucester. It has a wonderful combination of Lamb and Apple made savoury with the addition of onions and a potato and a swede mash. It was usually eaten in the farm after a hard day working on the fields or looking after the cattle – it is certainly warm and filling, with earthy flavours and years of tradition behind it, being a common dish in Gloucestershire for well over one hundred years.
Gloucestershire Squab Pie: From ‘100 Gloucestershire Recipes: Old And New’ collected and compiled by the Gloucestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes, published 1979.
Recipe: Winterbourne Down W.I (now Avon). Take any pieces of left-over cold meat, cut into shapely squares and place in a pie dish together with some good stock, pepper and salt. Boil four medium-sized onions and add. Peel, core and par-boil three good sized apples, add these as the next layer. Boil one swede-turnip and some potatoes, mash well together with a little butter, fill the remainder of the dish, and pile high. Place in a slow oven until nicely browned. Serve with good gravy. The turnip makes the pie a nice colour and the apples give a delicious flavour
Gloucestershire Pie Recipe
- 1kg lean lamb steak
- 25g plain flour
- 500g onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 500g cooking apples (Brambly) peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 60g butter
- 3 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 2 tsp of rosemary, leaves chopped fine
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg / grated nutmeg
- 300ml beef stock
- 500g potatoes, peeled and diced
- 500g swede, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
Cut up the lamb steak into 2.5cm dice – then on a plate roll the lamb pieces in flour – in a hot frying pan, with a little butter and vegetable oil, brown off the lamb pieces in three batches: do it in batches to make sure the lamb fries and browns and does not ‘stew’ in a cold pan. When browned set aside and allow to cool.
In two saucepans bring salted water up to the boil. Add the peeled apple slices to one pan, and the peeled and diced potato and swede in the other. Boil the apple for 5 minutes and the potato and swede for 10 minutes. Then drain separately.
Using a potato masher mash the par-boiled potato and swede together with a little butter and a little milk.
Preheat the oven to 190C
Grease a medium sized oven proof dish with a little butter and place into it layers of lamb, onion and apple. Sprinkle each layer with a pinch of chopped rosemary, grated nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper as you fill up the oven dish.
Pour the beef stock over the layers and then top off the pie dish with the mashed potato and swede mixture. Use a fork to rough up the top of the mashed swede and potato, then dot the top with little pieces of butter, sprinkle over a little sea salt, ground black pepper, and chopped rosemary.
Cover over the pie in the oven dish with some foil. Put the oven dish on a flat oven tray to catch any drips from the pie as it bakes.
Bake in the oven at 190C for 1 hour. After 1 hour take the foil cover off the Gloucestershire Pie and bake for a further ten minutes in a hotter oven at 220C to brown off the mash top and to get the pie surface crispy.
Serve the Gloucestershire Pie with seasonal green vegetables.