From Marsh Mash Spring 2013

My inspiration for this recipe came from living on Romney Marsh for nearly 20 years and seeing our famous Romney Marsh Sheep enjoying lifmarsh mash pie ingredientse in the fields on the Marsh. The pastures of Romney Marsh provide ideal grazing, developing a large framed, hardy sheep, which is docile, good at foraging, is resistant to foot rot and produces a delicate tasting meat – even in older lambs. My choice of beer is in the name and the fact that it began being bottled in 1993, the same year I came to Romney Marsh. Finally, the naming is dedicated to Marsh Mash, which was first produced in the Spring of 1999.

Ingredients:

  • 700g (1lb 8oz) Lamb (I used boneless shoulder) cut up into cubes (2.5cm/1”)
  • 2 x tablespoons Vegetable Oil (for frying)
  • 1 x 500ml Bottle of Black Sheep Ale (4.4%)
  • 1 x Lamb Stock Cube
  • 225g (8oz) each of diced Onions, Swede, Carrots
  • 55g (2oz) Butter (or any spread suitable for frying)
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Mint (or 3 sprigs about 4”/10cm long, chopped, of fresh mint when available)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 700g (1lb 8oz) Potatoes (old potatoes and suitable for mashing)
  • 55g (2oz) Butter/spread, seasoning and milk (for potato topping)

Note: You may wish to have 2 bottles of the beer, giving you one for the recipe and the other to drink!!

Method:

1. Open your first bottle of beer, pour into a glass and enjoy a few sips.
2. Heat the oil in a large oven proof stainless steel stock pot (ideally with a lid) or something which can be used both on the hob and then put into the oven, add the lamb and brown, stirring all the time - if you do not have a stock pot, use a large frying pan and large casserole dish with a lid. Remove pot/pan from the heat and allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Open the other beer and gently pour it over the meat, crumble the stock cube over the top, add the mint and heat the mixture over a medium heat until it begins to steam, stirring all the time - place to one side.
4. Gently melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions, turn heat up and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the swede and carrots , stir well and fry for a couple more minutes. Turn the heat out.
5. Add the fried vegetables to the meat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir well (if using a casserole dish, pour meat mixture in first, then the vegetables, salt and pepper and stir carefully to mix). Cover pot with a lid and place into a pre heated oven at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F or gas mark 3) for 1.5 hours. Note: if you do not have a lid, use a double thickness layer of tin foil, making sure it covers the pot completely.

One hour into the cooking time prepare the mashed potato topping.

marsh mash pie6. Peel and cut up the old potatoes, place in a pan, cover with water (add salt if you wish) and a lid, then bring them to the boil. Turn heat down and simmer gently until potatoes are soft.
7. Strain, add the butter and seasoning, stir well and mash with a potato masher (add a little milk if very thick – not too much though as it will be ‘sloppy’ and the top will not brown under the grill).
8. Leave the mashed potatoes in the pan and keep covered with the lid.

To Serve:

1. Remove meat mixture from the oven and carefully stir it. You can either spoon the meat mixture into a large casserole dish or divide it up into individual dishes for serving (if you have cooked it in a casserole dish, you can leave it in there).
2.Turn on the grill to high.
3. Carefully cover the meat mixture with a layer of mashed potato, then using a fork, draw patterns on the top. Place dish under a hot grill and gently brown the top for about 10 minutes or as required.

NOTE: If you find you have a lot of sauce with the meat mixture, reserve about ¼ - ½ pint (150/250ml) of it and serve on the side, with the finished pie.

Enjoy the pie with friends/family, either on its own or with vegetables and a beer of your choice.

Try this as an alternative:
Replace the mint with rosemary and add 3 beaten egg yolks to the mashed potato to give a glazed, toasty brown top. Serve with mint sauce.


Shirley Johnson

AFRM Branch Member