In this recipe the liver is cooked in the pie, it is not sealed first by frying, and so it is very tender, creating a rich gravy. This ‘working class pie’, with a long history, also traditionally had quite a thick pastry top, (pie lid) making it a filling meal for the rural farm labourers and town workers who regularly ate it.
Liver & Onion Pie
Serves 4 to 6. You need a 1.2 litre pie dish.
- 50g butter
- 750g onions (peeled and cut in rings)
- 750g lamb’s liver (cut in very thin slices)
- 25g plain flour (sprinkled with ground sea-salt and black pepper)
- 2 sprigs to make 1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 sprig to make 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
- 500 ml beef stock
- Sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
see this masterclass on making shortcrust pastry
- 400g plain flour (plus extra for dusting work surface)
- 90g butter (cut into cubes)
- 90g lard (cut into cubes)
- pinch ground sea salt
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 egg yolk (to glaze)
- a little milk
For the shortcrust pastry: see this masterclass on making shortcrust pastry. In a mixing bowl sift in the flour and add the sea-salt. Take the butter and lard and rub this lightly into the flour with your finger-tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and mix in the beaten egg to bring the flour and butter into a pastry dough which is silky and smooth. Add a little milk or flour as needed if wet or dry. Cover and place the pastry dough in the fridge to chill for twenty minutes.
For the pie filling: Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onions in it over a low heat for 7 minutes, stir frequently, until they are just beginning to brown. Lay half the onions in the bottom of a large 1.2 litre pie dish.
Cut the liver into thin strips about 8cm by 25 cm, discarding any skin or gristle. Sprinkle the flour (and seasoning) onto a plate – turn the strips of liver in it to coat them in the seasoned flour. Place a layer of flour coated liver over the onions. Next sprinkle the chopped herbs over the top. Repeat the layers of onions and liver, ending with a layer of onions. Pour in enough of the beef stock to just cover the top layer. Season well with ground sea-salt and pepper.
Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little milk. Pinch off a small amount of pastry, roll it out to about 5mm thick in a long rectangle. Cut out a few 2cm wide pastry strips, which you place length-ways, running all the way around the pie dish rim, half-in and half-out, merging them together where needed. Brush the pastry strips with a little milk.
Preheat the oven 200C
Roll out the remaining pastry for the pie lid, but keep it fairly thick, about 1 cm. Cut out a shape large enough to fit over the top of the pie dish. Put the pastry lid on the pie, firmly seal and crimp the strips of pastry with the pie lid – trim off any excess pastry – cut a small steam hole and brush over the top of the pie pastry with the beaten egg yolk. Place the pie on a baking tray and bake in a pre—heated oven at 200C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes cover the top loosely with foil, turn the heat down to 170C and cook for a further 60 minutes.
Once fully baked, and the pie filling is piping hot, remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes then serve with steamed vegetables and a creamy mash potato.