Great Northern Cookbook

Episode 1 recipe: Meat ’n’ Potato Pie

Liked the look of Sean's giant Meat 'n' Potato Pie? Here's how to make your own mini version.


The Great Northern Meat ’n’ Potato Pie is a classic dish that no Southerner can lay claim to. The most famous shop bought ones are Holland’s Pies, made in Baxenden near Accrington. They’ve been in the pie business since 1851 and have become a beloved Northern institution with their green, red and gold delivery vans. However, you can’t beat a homemade version and this recipe had been handed down through my family for generations.



1 large handful of plain flour
1 tsp mustard powder 
500g beef shin or stewing steak, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp groundnut oil or lard
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 litre water 
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry
1kg good waxy potatoes, Charlotte or Maris Piper would be ideal, peeled and cut into 1.5cm chunky cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a bowl, season your flour with the mustard powder, some sea salt and white pepper.

To make the filling, roll the beef cubes in the seasoned flour and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil or lard until hot. Throw in the seasoned beef for a couple of minutes to colour, then add the onion and carrot and mix well. Add the water, sage, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce, if using. Cover and bring to the boil, then skim. Turn down the heat to a slow simmer and cook for at least 2 hours.

While the filling is cooking, make your shortcrust pastry and chill for 30 minutes. Cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes until tender and then drain and cover with cold water to arrest the cooking process.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. When you are ready, split the pastry into two balls – one of two-thirds, the other a third – and roll out the larger one to a size that will easily cover the base of a 24cm diameter and 5cm deep pie dish. Grease your dish and then line it with the pastry and trim of the excess around the edges. Add the trimmings to your other piece of pastry and knead for a minute. Now roll out the top of the pie. 

Drain the potatoes and add them to your beef, mixing and seasoning well. Carefully spoon the meat and potato mixture into the pie base, filling up the pie. Brush the edges of the base with a beaten egg and then lay the top on and seal the edges with a fork or your fingers. Glaze the pie liberally with beaten egg, pierce 3 holes in the middle and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Serve a slice for each person, with Crinkle-Cut Chips Mushy Peas and a good brown gravy.

The Great Northern Cookbook is available now from Amazon