Durham Squab Pie
Durham Squab Pie is a lamb dish that makes you want to stoke up the fire and settle down for the evening. Originally, many, many years ago it was made using the (humble and much maligned) pigeon, which is what squab means. In culinary terminology, squab is a young domestic pigeon or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken-though seemingly everything is when folk are stuck for a comparison! The term is probably of Scandinavian origin; the Swedish word ‘skvabb’ means “loose, fat flesh”. It formerly applied to all dove and pigeon species, such as the Wood Pigeon, the Mourning Dove, and the now-extinct and wonderfully named, Passenger Pigeon, and to their meat. More recently, squab meat comes almost entirely from domesticated pigeons. Anyway, the dish I cook uses lamb or mutton chops. Squab pies would have had pie crusts top and bottom but mine uses sliced potatoes to line the buttered casserole dish. it is scrumptious...
- two large cooking apples
- large onion
- tbsp brown sugar
- 5 medium sized potatoes
- 8 lamb or mutton chops
- 1 litre of chicken stock
- black pepper
Level of difficulty Average
Preparation time 10mins
Cooking time 60mins
Cost Average budget
Lightly pan fry the chops in oil until brown then lay to one side. You’ll probably need twelve for 4 people.
Add a knob of butter to the pan and fry a couple of sliced cooking apples with a sliced onion and a tablespoon of brown sugar.
Peel around 4 or 5 medium potatoes – King Edward’s preferably, or just whites will do – then slice them thinly – about the width of a pound coin – no wider.
Butter a casserole dish and line the bottom with half the potato slices, allowing them to overlap slightly.
Lie the chops on the bed of potato slices, then sprinkle generously some fresh rosemary over them. A grind too of a little rock salt and lots of black pepper.
When the apple mixture has been lightly browned, add to the chops and top up with chicken stock until just over the top of the chops- a litre should be more than enough.
Then add another layer of sliced potatoes over the top. Add a knob of butter.
Pop in a preheated oven at about 160 degrees centigrade for an hour.
Great with sprouts or kale. Needs some good bread to mop up juices afterwards!
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