Something a little different for this month's recipe, not a dish from the current menu but instead the main course from today's Thyme's Table dinner. This is the first that The Swan's Head Chef Matt Wardman has created for diners in the Tithe Barn at Thyme and it captures not only the season but also gets to the very heart of what we are doing here on the Southrop Manor Estate. Rather than Southrop Lamb we are using Mutton; by definition a sheep over two years old. It has a stronger flavour and unlike younger animals is hung for at least two weeks before it is eaten. There is a long standing campaign by the Prince of Wales to promote mutton ( www.muttonrenaissance.org.uk ) and not only does it's increasing popularity help struggling farmers to achieve a better price for their older ewes but as the animals are completely grass-fed it makes mutton a truly sustainable choice. Of course the main reason to choose any meat is taste, and we can assure you its rich deep flavours won't disappoint.
This recipe makes 4 pithiviers to feed 8 but you can easily adjust to make individual pies or larger ones, simply adjust your pastry accordingly.
2 x 500g very good quality puff pastry, if you would like to make your own do so at least a day in advance, download the recipe at the bottom of this page.
Prepare your mutton
- 1 small shoulder mutton (or lamb if it is difficult for you to source mutton)
- 3 onions cut in half
- 2 bulbs of garlic cut in half
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 pts water
- Place your shoulder of mutton in a deep roasting tray with all the filling ingredients except the parsley.
- Cover with foil, place in a preheated oven at 140° for 7-8 hours (in at 11, out at 7) or until the meat falls off the bone.
- Increase the temperature of the oven to 180° for the vegetables.
- Pick the meat away from the bone into a bowl (keep as chunky as possible), add a ladle of the stock.
- Chill in the fridge.
Make your gravy
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 bulb garlic
- ½ bottle red wine
- stock from your cooked meat
- Gently stir the carrots onions and garlic in a heavy based pan over a medium heat for 20 minutes until caramelised.
- Add the wine, and reduce by half, add the roasting stock and simmer gently for 1 hour skimming the fat from the surface as you go.
- Set aside.
Prepare your filling
- 3 large floury potatoes
- 500g baby onions (as tiny as possible, we used onions of 1cm)
- Bunch of garden fresh small carrots
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- I bunch torn curly parsley (this has a stronger, better flavour than flat leaf)
- Oil, salt & pepper
- Roughly chop the potatoes into 1.5cm cubes – in order to preserve the starch do not wash your potatoes.
- Bring to the boil in salted water and cook until they are soft.
- Place on a tray to cool – this way they will gently steam, enabling them to soak up the lovely juices when added to the filling mix.
- Roast the carrots at 180° with the caraway seeds, a little oil, salt & pepper for 30-40 minutes until soft. While they are still hot, rub off their skins and roughly chop to the size of the potatoes.
- Roast the baby onions in a separate oven tray with a little oil, salt & pepper until caramelised.
- Add the vegetables and torn parsley to the meat mix.
To make the pithiviers
- Preheat your oven to 190° and place your baking sheets in to heat.
- Roll our your pastry to 1cm & cut 4 x 24cm circles for the top & 4x 19cm circles for the bottoms.
- Divide your filling into four.
- Place your filling in a mound on the larger round, leaving an inch all the way around.
- Egg wash the edges.
- Top with the larger disk and fold all the way round, cupping your hands to draw the lovely round shape together.
- Brush with egg wash and place on the hot trays in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.
- Brush with melted butter for extra shine.
- Serve with your gravy on the side and plenty of seasonal vegetable
Chef's note: do not be tempted to make a little hole in the top of the pithiviers - don't let all those wonderful flavours out, Matt promises they won't be soggy!