Stokenchurch Pie, Buckinghamshire
Stokenchurch is a fitting home for this thrifty but filling pie: the Bucks village is on the old coaching road between London and Oxford (indeed the village used to be in Oxfordshire ), and perhaps passengers using those conveyances had need of solid sustenance, especially those travelling outside in the colder months. And in coaching days this now more prosperous settlement was very agricultural, and making meat go further would have been close to the heart of all but the most affluent housewife.
The use of macaroni in this pie leads some to conclude it is of relatively recent introduction, but that does not necessarily follow. ‘Macrows’ were known here in the 15th century, though early incarnations of pasta of that sort was far more likely to be found in noble kitchens than elsewhere, and thrift was not the major preoccupation of such places.
The pie is made using leftover cooked meat, cut into small pieces or minced up, mixed together with cooked macaroni and some meat stock, or failing that some mushroom ketchup or Worcester sauce and a little hot water, enough to make the mix moist. Season this well, it is not the most flavoursome you will ever encounter, but it certainly merits the name filling.
In a pie dish lined with nice short pastry put a layer of the meat and macaroni mix, then a layer of sliced hard-boiled eggs, another of the meat and pasta, and then a pastry lid with a hole or two to let the steam from the filling escape. Decorate the lid if you wish, glaze it or just leave it plain. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 190 centigrade until the top is obviously cooked, which should be about half an hour or a little longer.
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