Crispy topped Cumberland pie

Crispy topped Cumberland pie

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(46 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 3 hrs - 3 hrs, 50 mins


Serves 5
This crisp, potato-topped pie is slow-cooked and inexpensive to make. It's a great family meal but smart enough for entertaining too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze assembled or cooked

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal486
  • fat21g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs41g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre4g
  • protein34g
  • salt1.8g
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  • 2 celery sticks, sliced into 1cm pieces



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then chunkily sliced



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 2 tbsp each plain flour, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
  • 850g feather blade beef, or other braising cut, cut into large chunks



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 850g large potato



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 25g each mature cheddar and parmesan, finely grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Soften the celery, onion, carrots, bay and 1 thyme sprig in a casserole with 1 tbsp oil and the butter for 10 mins. Stir in the flour, followed by the purée, Worcestershire sauce and stock cubes.

  2. Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in the beef and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30 mins -1 hr more until the meat is really tender and sauce thickened.

  3. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water until they’re not done but about ¾ of the way there.

  4. Transfer meat to a baking dish. Slice spuds into 1cm thick rounds and gently toss with seasoning, the remaining oil and thyme leaves. Layer on the beef, scattering with the cheese as you layer. You can cover and chill the pie now for 1 day, or freeze for up to 3 months.

  5. Increase oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and bake for 30-40 mins until golden and crispy, and sauce bubbling if the dish went in cold. Serve with peas.

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Nov, 2016
Make it healthier: chuck in a can of beans (inc the liquid), haricot or cannellini work well; add a large handful of red lentils. Use 400g lean diced beef. Use a whole bag of carrots. Mix in sweet potato with the regular potato for the topping. Yum! Also, make it on the hob and save yourself using the oven for the first part. I don't cook anything first, just chuck everything in the pan, turn on the hob and come back 2-3 hrs later. A lot easier!
imallebbot's picture
23rd Feb, 2015
went down a treat, very comforting and tasty will make again
16th Nov, 2014
Had this meal at a dinner party last night. Was absolutely delicious! The hostess added a little bit of port which gave it a fabulous richness - fantastic meal for a cold and rainy evening.... Will definitely be making it for my family.
8th Nov, 2014
I love this dish, so simple but so tasty. I'm making it again tonight for dinner during the week. Its just a great all rounder!
6th Apr, 2014
This will be my second time to make this - making it for company this time. All my family loved it. I'll add some veg on the side too I think. Maybe asparagus or something like that.
helenthom's picture
16th Feb, 2014
I was looking forward to this but was left feeling a bit disappointed. I liked the potato topping but found the stew lacking something. I'll probably not make it again, but maybe I will as my 9 yr old son and hubby scoffed it, it was myself and my daughter not so keen on it. Split opinions in this family.....
22nd Jun, 2013
I've made this recipe loads of times and there's never anything left! I've also substituted the beef for lamb and the beef stock for lamb stock, and it turned out just as nice.
2nd May, 2013
very tasty and easy to make. Made it as the recipe states and aded a bit of cubed potato to the stew bit. I made it for a party of eight and everyone enjoyed it...winner. Lovely with some butter crusty loaf, nice an rustic.
25th Jan, 2013
This is a real success & really enjoyed by my family. As I didn't have any Worcestershire sauce I used soy sauce and seemed to work really well. Of course this dish is lovely the next day warmed up.
6th Jan, 2013
I was unsurewhen preping this but it was amazing! 5 star all the way!


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