With a bitter North Easterly today, take brisk walk in the country or on the beach, light the fire and bake yourself a Squab pie!
Although it is not known exactly where squab pie was first made, it is clear that it was somewhere in the south of England. Although it appears that squab pie did originally contain pigeons, mutton and apples have been used as a substitute since at least 1737 using a recipe that has remained in cookbooks for years afterwards.
Squab is described as tender with a mild berry flavour, and so it is possible that the combination of mutton and apples created a similar flavour. There is also a theory that the name squab pie is short for “squabble pie”, as it stems from a disagreement over whether to have a meat or apple pie. There are many variations to the squab pie in England, although it traditionally includes mutton, it has come to mean a pie with many ingredients or a “scraps pie”.
Squab pie in Devon can be served with clotted cream Alternatively, in America, it is cooked with squab, and is synonymous with pigeon pie. Unusual but delicious, this traditional pie recipe is made with lamb neck fillet, spices, apples and prunes topped with shortcrust pastry and traditionally served with clotted cream.
- 450g/1lb lean lamb neck fillet, sliced
- Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 2.5ml/½tsp ground mace
- 2.5ml/½tsp ground cinnamon
- 10ml/2tsp cornflour
- 1 red apple, cored and sliced into thin wedges
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 8 dried ready-to-eat prunes, chopped
- 10ml/2tsp light brown sugar
- 150ml/¼pint good, hot lamb stock
- 350g prepared shortcrust pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a large bowl mix the lamb, seasoning, spices and cornflour together.
- Arrange the lamb, apple and onion in layers, Add the prunes, sugar and stock.
- Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 170°C, 325°F.
- On a floured surface roll out the pastry large enough to fit over a 1.2L/2pint ovenproof pie dish. Dampen the edge of the dish with a little water and place the pastry on top of the dish. Trim off any excess pastry and press and crimp the edges to seal. Brush with the beaten egg and cook in the oven for 1 hour until golden brown.
- Serve the pie the traditional way with clotted cream, seasonal vegetables and potatoes.
Original pie recipe found at: See more at: http://www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk and references from Wikipedia. Also a great article here on a more in depth history of Squab Pie