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3 Wholesome Pie Fillings to Keep You Warm This Winter


Once the barometer starts to descend, it’s time for pies. Not only do they make you feel warm, they’re also hearty, filling and sure to inspire your spirits in a way that helps you cope with long winter nights and short, cold days.

1. A perfect pie for vegetarians

Cheese and onion really is a flavour marriage made in heaven and this easy recipe, accompanied with some delicious McCain Rustic Chips, will set you up to cope with whatever the winter weather can throw at you. You could always cheat and buy some ready-made short crust pastry, or you can choose to make your own if you have the time. Whether you choose Gruyere, Lancashire cheese or cheddar for your filling is entirely up to you but, you do want a cheese that oozes with flavour and you’ll need to grate about 9oz for your pie. Before rolling out the pastry, fry three chopped onions in butter, stir in 5 fluid oz of water and add to the onion mixture, then keep on stirring until the liquid has evaporated. Add pepper and a pinch of salt to taste.

Roll out the pastry to cover the base of an 8" loose bottomed flan tin, keeping back enough pastry for the lid of the pie. Cover the pastry base with a layer of the onion mixture and then sprinkle over some of the grated cheese. Repeat this process and when the pie case is full, pop the pastry lid on top, piercing it in a couple of places. You can then paint the pastry case with milk or egg wash for extra texture and colour, before placing the pie in the oven for 40 - 50 minutes.

2. Classic chicken and mushroom

Chicken and mushroom pie is one of the most popular dishes around. Served with skin on chips, you’re sure to have a really hearty meal. Again, you can always use ready-made pastry and as long as you use fresh chicken for the filling, you won’t go too far wrong.

Start by frying the chopped chicken. Once it starts to go white, add mushrooms and remove both ingredients from the pan once cooked. Add onion and garlic to the pan and remove when fried, then add some butter and flour and create a paste, before finishing with chicken stock and milk. Stir the paste in a figure of eight for a smooth consistency. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the pan and combine with the chicken and mushroom mixture. You can either freeze the mixture when cool or add to your pie straight away.

One way to spice up this classic dish is the addition of nutmeg to the chicken and mushroom mix, while black pepper and just a dash of salt is also a good idea. You can always add some porcini or portobello mushrooms rather than sticking with the button variety, too.

3. Go adventurous with game

Game pie might sound like the preserve of royalty, but in actual fact it’s a tasty, hearty dish that is great for family meals and dinner parties. Make friends with your local butcher and you’ll amass enough parts of various types of game bird in order to make one of the tastiest and most satisfying pies ever. You’ll want to gather around 1kg of game meat for a really good sized pie, but it’s a matter of personal preference whether you include pheasant, venison, partridge or grouse and in which quantities. This tends to be a boozy pie, so make sure that you have some brandy and port to hand. It also takes time, but if you follow your chosen recipe carefully you’ll be amazed at the finished product. This is a pie that’s succulent, savoury, and ultimately delicious.

What is your favourite pie filling?

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