PubChef looks at ideas for classic pub dishes - whatever your skill in the kitchen. This month we look at pies
David "Billy" Brown, head chef of the Hare Arms in Stow Bardolph, Norfolk, and champion of the English Beef and Lamb Executive's Steak Pie 2006 competition, shares his winning recipe.
Cost to make: £1.75Menu price: £9Approx GP: 80%
Steak & peppercorn pie Ingredients: Filling: 5lb of chuck steak, 1 chopped onion, 3tbs cracked black peppercorns, 3 pts of beef stock, 1/2pt double cream, tomato purée, 75mls brandy, salt.
Pastry: 1lb self raising flour, 4oz butter, 4oz lard, 5 to 10 floz cold water.
Method:Filling: Sweat off the onions and add the beef. When the beef has browned add the tomato puree, beef stock and cracked black peppercorns and cook slowly until the beef is tender. Add the cream and brandy and allow to cool.
Pastry: Mix the flour, lard and butter together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add water until a doughy ball is formed. Rest the pastry for 30 minutes before using on the pie mix.
On offer: Brakes' new pies and puddings include chicken, leek & Wiltshire ham pie (400g), steak and kidney suet pudding (350g) and steak square pie (300g).
The PR: "All are made with premium ingredients and have the added benefit of being microwaveable. Our product development manager worked tirelessly to develop a butter-enriched pastry which really delivers, even through a microwave."
Cost: Chicken: £19.95 per case of 6, £3.33 each, steak: £35.95 per case of 12, £3 each, steak square pie: £29.95 per case of 12, £2.50 each.
Serving ideas: Serve the square pie with home-made chips,
oven-cooked with cracked black pepper, sea salt and puy lentils
Serve the chicken, leek and ham pie with cauliflower and broccoli in a cheese sauce.
Contact: 0845 6069090, www.brake.co.uk class="bold">3663
On offer: Range includes three premium pies - new Whites range beef Wellington (360g), White's luxury Cumberland fish pie (445g) and luxury baked steak and ale pie (300g).
The PR: "We have a large range of branded and own-brand pies, ranging from individually-wrapped luxury pies to our basic range. They are easy to serve, taste great and look home-made."
Cost: Whites' beef Wellington 12 x 360g (£56.99); each: £4.75
Fish pie 12 x 445g, £46.99; each: £3.90
Steak and ale pie 18 x 300g, £27.99; each: £1.55
Serving ideas: Serve beef Wellington with honey-glazed carrots, broccoli and new potatoes, and a red wine and shallot sauce.
Offer the steak and ale pie with mashed potato with grain mustard, sautéed leeks and garlic roasted potatoes.
Contact: 0870 3663100, www.3663.co.uk class="bold">Pieminister
On offer: Pieminister offers a range of eight gastronomic savoury pies, with a modern twist on the traditional dish. The range includes minty lamb pie, made with free range British lamb, carrot, swede, mint and rosé wine; Thai chook pie, with free range British chicken, fragrant Thai green curry, sweet potato and lime, and Heidi pie, made with goats' cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion and roasted garlic.
The PR: "We're passionate about pies and sides. We only use fresh ingredients and source locally from farmers in the West Country who genuinely care about their produce. All our meat is free-range."
Cost: Minty lamb pie £2.30 each; Thai pie £2.25 each; Heidi pie £2.10 each.
Serving ideas: Offer the lamb pie with minty peas, the Thai chook pie
with sweet potato and crème fraîche mash and the Heidi pie with new potatoes and red onion gravy.
Contact: 0117 9423322, www.pieminister.co.uk