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Cowheel Pie

Pies and Pastries

Commonly a dished pie of cowheel pieces stewed with beef, or beef stock and vegetables, most traditionally under a suet pastry crust, but other forms are known.

Our correspondent Ian Pickvance says (2021) that "My Lancastrian mother used to prepare Steak and Cow Heal Pie complete with suet crust (about an inch thick as I remember) . Rich and glue-like it was just the job after rugby practice with mash and greens. We staggered from the table barely able to move after scoffing it! Grand stuff!"

United Cattle Products - Lancashire Evening Post - Friday 16 January 1931

Modern Steak and Cowheel Pie
Image: Bradley's Bakery, www.bestporkpie.co.uk

Known at least since an article in the 'Sheffield Daily Telegraph' of Tuesday 6 April 1869 reporting how a chicken-thief was captured while his wife made a cow-heel pie.

'Lessons on cookery' by Barbara Wallace Gothard of 1878 has: "the heel will make excellent soup if put on and boiled with fresh cold water, vegetables, herbs, &c., the next day, and the remains made up into collard meat, cow-heel pie or savoury stew."

Original Receipt from in 'The Farmhouse Kitchen' by Mary Norwak, c1980, (with thanks to Linda Johnson)

Beef and Cowheel Pie

12oz shin beef
Half a cowheel
One onion stuck with cloves
Salt and pepper
6oz self-raising flour
3oz shredded suet

Cut up the beef and cowheel, cover with water and add the onion, salt and pepper. Simmer for three hours. Strain, and keep the liquid. Remove the bones and onion and cut the meat into neat pieces. Put into a greased pie dies, moisten with cooking liquid, and taste for seasoning. Mix the flour and suet with a pinch of salt, and mix to a soft dough with cold water. Roll out and put on top of the meat. Bake at 400F, 200C, gas mark 6 for one hour. Make gravy with the remaining cooking liquid, and serve the pie with gravy, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

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