There is nothing like a pie night to liven up a Thursday evening in November. My housemates and I were experiencing some winter blues which we resolved with a classic autumnal meal because after all, in pie we crust.
The Great Northern Pie company, home to award-winning traditional handcrafted pies, offers a regularly changing seasonal menu of pies which are delivered to your door and baked to pie-fection. Their menu rotates every four months with their signature Lancashire cheese and onion pie available all year round.
The pies came in perfect individual portions for a household with varying diets like ours: a meat eater, a pescetarian, and two vegetarians. And what’s more, they can be frozen and enjoyed later with the local products maintaining their fresh seasonal fillings.
It was a fun night of trying to differentiate between the pies — a lucky dip with so much at steak. Alongside our pies, we made mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and gravy, creating the ultimate comfort meal and the perfect house family dinner. Allow me to give you a lay of the table:
First up, we have the beef mince and onion pie: Yorkshire grass-fed beef mince, roast onion puree, ale gravy, peas, redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon and white pepper tested by the house’s resident meat eater, Isi.
This was what can only be described as a well-filled pie; whilst it lacked sauce, there was a lot of filling — a meat lover’s dream if you will. It was heavy on the beef mince and a nice alternative to your classic chunky steak and ale pie. The pie was well-balanced, although more peppery than spiced. Isi noted that as she is not a huge pea fan herself, so the low pea count was perfect, but for pea lovers, it could be disappointing. Her final notes were that she was more than satisfied by her pie, comparing it to that of a gastropub.
Next up, we have the first of the two veggie options, the spinach and cheese pie: white Chesire cheese, spinach, white sauce, star anise, and black and white sesame seeds sampled by a vegetarian Phoebe.
Phoebe’s immediate comment was that the pie had a beautifully smooth consistency and an incredible. strong cheese flavour. The spinach was more of a subtle undertone as it didn’t fully cut through the cheese and white sauce but added to the overall flavour palette of the pie. The pastry stayed together well — an essential for a pie with a creamy filling — and allowed for the perfect forkful without falling apart. Phoebe’s final comments? The pie paired very well with gravy and that she would order it again in the event of another pie night.
Last, but very much not least, is the classic Lancashire cheese and onion pie: Dewlay’s tasty Lancashire cheese, caramelised white onion, white pepper, nutmeg, and Japanese breadcrumbs which, as the token Northerner in the house, I tried myself.
This pie was the sauciest of the three, it had an incredible creaminess and a nice consistency, not too thin or thick, with gorgeous caramelised onion running through. There was a perfect amount of sauce — arguably the main component of this pie. The pastry held itself together very well which is incredibly necessary with a saucy pie — there is nothing worse than a soggy bottom. The only thing I could say is that some parts of the pastry were slightly too thick, but with the well-balanced flavours and great filling, this really wasn’t an issue.
The Great North Pie Co’s pies are available for home delivery, order boxes of four for £18 or 8 for £34 online. While they stand on being slightly expensive, they are super convenient and undoubtedly delicious every time.