Lamb and Apricot Pie
By: Richard, Earl of BradfordServes: 5
IN the late 1970s it amazed me there seemed to be no modern example of an English restaurant in London, and pies seemed the obvious choice of sensible fuel food, being relatively simple to serve to order, though making real demands on culinary expertise in preparation.
Porters English Restaurant opened in June 1979, in the middle of the era of 'nouvelle cuisine', and has continued to prosper ever since. Since then we have experienced the ethnic revolution, fusion food and many more trends, but we have slogged on, continually trying to learn from our customers and keep our offering moving forward without losing sight of our original aims.
At the time I was quoted as saying, "The few specialist English restaurants in London tend to serve food at very high prices. Porters will give a lot of people good, simple, traditional English dishes in comfortable surroundings at very reasonable prices. There can't be many places any longer in central London where you can eat a two course meal with wine for about £6 per head!" Still a statement that rings true, except for the cost!
One thing that particularly amuses me is to find Traditional English Lamb and Apricot Pie on other places' menus, as I actually invented it before we opened - essentially borrowing from Arabic/North African cooking - and it still sells extremely well at Porters today.
3 lbs diced lamb
2 fl oz vegetable oil
1½ lbs diced onions
4 oz plain flour
3 dessertspoons tomato purée
½ pt lamb stock
500 gram tin apricot halves (blame it on metric measures!)
2 dessertspoons mint sauce
Pinch of salt & pepper
Pastry - shortcrust or puff
Filling - Method of Preparation
- Pour the oil into a large pan and place on a high heat.
- Fry the diced lamb until the meat is sealed.
- Reduce the heat and add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have become transparent.
- Add the flour and tomato puree; allow to cook for four to five minutes.
- Add the stock and bring to simmering point, cook until the meat is tender. The longer the better.
- Drain and add the apricots and mint sauce, adjust seasoning as required.
- Transfer to a pie dish and cover with either short crust or puff pastry, trimming off any excess and pinching the edges so that it adheres to the dish. Lightly brush with egg wash.
- Make half a dozen or so small incisions in the pastry and place in a moderate oven, 180 C, and cook until golden brown.
© recipe copyright 2001 Richard, Earl of Bradford