Recently I read the book Cold Grave by Craig Robertson. In one of the scenes…
Corned beef and potato pie is a traditional British recipe. It might look old-fashioned but it is easy to make and perfect for family dinner. You can serve it cold as part of a buffet or a picnic. The dish is cheap to make if you are on a budget.
If you are from the North East you will be familiar with corned beef and potato pie. It regularly appears at family gatherings, taking pride of place on the buffet table. Whilst the pie is simple to make, containing only three ingredients, the taste is sublime. This pie will quickly become a family favourite.
A Northern Thrifty Recipe
Corned beef and potato pie is very much a Northern recipe, originating in the North of England. Every family has their own variation of the recipe. These range from adding vegetables like carrots and celery, a dash of brown or tomato sauce in the filling or a little stock to make a gravy. This recipe keeps it simple, using only corned beef, potatoes and fried onions.
In the North East leek shows are popular and there is a great rivalry to see who can grow the best leeks. At these times leeks would often replace onion in the recipe to get rid of the glut of leeks.
Read more: Traditional recipes from North East England
Corned beef was also a common wartime ingredient. During the world wars, corned beef or bully beef was a staple for soldiers. During the second world war, corned beef and spam were popular ingredients. They were not part of the fresh meat ration so many housewives would save their ration coupons to get a tin. Many popular corned beef recipes sprung up, corned beef hash being one of the most common.
Corned Beef Plate Pie
Plate pie is exactly how it sounds – a pie baked on a plate. The sloping curves of the plate help contain the filling in the pastry case. It also makes the pie easy to slice and serve as it’s already on a plate.
An enamel pie plate will give you even heat retention and a crispy pie bottom. If you don’t have an enamel pie plate you can use a glass pie dish (or the top of a casserole dish). A dinner plate also works well. Make sure you grease the plate before covering it with pastry so it doesn’t stick.
How to make Corned Beef and Potato Pie
This takes you through the steps to make corned beef and potato plate pie, don’t forget to scroll down for the complete printable recipe.
Corned beef and potato pie is really easy to make. First, get your ingredients, you need shortcrust pastry, a tin of corned beef, around three potatoes and an onion.
Next, preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6. Get a pie plate and grease it, or line it with baking parchment.
Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes and put them in a pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until soft.
Drain the water from the potatoes and mash until soft, adding a little salt and pepper for seasoning.
Open the tin of corned beef and add to a bowl. Chop into small squares.
Add the potatoes to the corned beef and mash together.
Peel and chop the onion. Add a dash of oil to a frying pan and fry the onions until soft. Add the onion to the mashed beef and potato mixture and mix well.
Roll out half the pastry and use it to cover the bottom of the pie plate. Trim the edges.
Add the corned beef mixture into the dish.
Roll out the rest of the pastry and use it to top the pie. You might want to brush some beaten egg or water around the edge of the bottom pastry on the dish to help seal it. Make a couple of slits in the top to let out the steam. Use any leftover pastry to decorate the top.
You can brush the top with beaten egg or some milk to glaze the pie. Pop into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Corned Beef and Potato Pie Recipe
Corned Beef and Potato Pie
- Sharp knife
- Pie dish
- Mixing bowl
- potato peeler
- Potato masher
- 500 g shortcrust pastry (home-made or shop-bought)
- 340 g tin corned beef
- 2-3 large potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6.
- Grease a 10" pie dish or cover it with baking parchment.
- Peel the potatoes and chop them into chunks
- Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water and boil until soft, usually 20-25 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, add a little salt and pepper and mash them up.
- Remove the corned beef from the can and chop it into pieces.
- Add the corned beef to the potatoes and mash them together.
- Peel and chop the onion into small pieces.
- Add some oil to a frying pan and fry the onion until soft.
- Add the fried onion to the corned beef mixture.
- Roll out half the shortcrust pastry and line the bottom of the pie plate.
- Spoon the filling into the pastry, leaving a 2 cm gap around the edge of the pastry
- Brush the edge with beaten egg
- Roll out the rest of the pastry and use it to top the pie, sealing the edges with your fingers.
- Trim the edges. Cut two holes in the top of the pastry and glaze with beaten egg
- If you want, decorate the pie with the excess pastry
- Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden
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Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the filling and the pastry ahead of time. Why not make the day before and then put together and bake the next day?
What sort of pastry should I use?
In this recipe, I use shortcrust pastry, as I love the taste of a good buttery shortcrust. You can make your own pastry or use frozen ready-made pastry. Just remember to thaw it before you use it. Allow an hour for the pastry to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
Puff pastry also works really well. Some families also use a hot water crust pastry in their pie. It really is a matter of preference.
How long does it keep?
Kept in the fridge and covered, the leftover pie will keep up to four days. That is, if you can resist the tempatition of eating it.
Can I freeze corned beef and potato pie?
Yes, it can. Make sure the pie is cool before you freeze it. Wrap it in cling film or silver foil and pop into the freezer. It will keep for around three months.
What can I serve it with?
You can serve corned beef and potato pie either hot or cold. When hot why not serve with baked beans and chips? Serve cold as part of a buffet, with salad or take along as part of a picnic.
How do I open a tin of corned beef?
Corned beef comes with a key on the side of the tin to make it easy to open. First break off the key. There is a metal tab on the side of the can. Insert this into the slit on the key with the head of the key at the bottom of the can. Turn the key. The metal strip will wind round the key. You can then remove the lid and slide out the beef into a bowl with a knife.
What is corned beef?
Corned beef is brisket beef, a tougher cut of meat that is made tender by cooking it in salted brine. The term corned refers to the curing method, it originally was dry-cured using corns of salt. Once the brining process is over the meat is really tender and easy to slice.