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3 Hearty Cumbrian Recipes to Try

20 January 2020

Cumbria is full of wonderful surprises; from jaw-dropping scenery to mesmerising walking routes, there is so much to explore. However, one of the biggest delights in this area is the food. People come from far and wide to enjoy Kendal Mint Cake, Cumberland Sausage and collect juicy damsons from the Lyth and Winster valleys, south-west of Kendal.

There’s no questioning that Cumbria and the Lakes boast many classic dishes whatever the season. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Cumbrian recipes, so the whole family can have a taste of Cumbria. Grubs up!


Hearty Cumbrian Recipes

Chimney Pot Pie

When you think of the north, many things spring to mind, and pies are definitely amongst those things. Honest, hearty, warming and filling, pies are considered a northern delicacy and this one is one of the finest. A Cumbrian Chimney Pot Pie is made with melt-in-the-mouth mutton and is simply irresistible. Source locally (Herdwick!) for an extra special Cumbrian touch. Cook slowly until the meat is tender, top with a crisp and top with a rich pastry – this is one of the Cumbrian recipes that takes some beating.



For the shortcrust pastry you will need:

200g butter placed in the freezer, 350g plain flour, Pinch salt, 6tbsp chilled water

For the Filling you will need:

50g plain flour, 2-2.5kg dry-aged Cumbrian Herdwick mutton or lamb (with or without the shank bone), 2tbsp olive oil, 4 onions, quartered, 8 cloves garlic, 2tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, 600ml dark Cumbrian Ale, 300ml beef stock



For the Filling:

To begin with, season the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cut the meat into large pieces and sprinkle with your flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, then add the meat, and cook until browned. Remove after browning, add a little more oil and now cook the onions. Add garlic, rosemary and cook for around a minute. Tip in any remaining flour and your stock and bring to a simmer.

Return the meat to the dish, cover and cook gently for around 2-3 hours until the meat is tender, falls apart and the sauce is rich and thick. Leave to cool.

For the Pastry:

Sift the flour and salt. Grate the frozen butter into the flour. Working quickly, stir the butter and flour together and then sprinkle in water. Mix together to make a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge.

Prepare The Pie:

Fill a pie dish with your cooled mutton filling. On a floured surface, roll out pastry to desired thickness, but be sure to keep around 2.5cm wider than the dish. Cut a 2cm strip from the pastry and place around the rim. This can be done by brushing a little water there first.

For an added hearty touch, keep the shank bone and use in the centre of the pie filling. This can act as a pie funnel, releasing steam when the pie is baking, stopping the pastry from sinking.

Place your pastry lip over the top of your meat mix, keeping a slit for the shank bone. Press down the edges of the pastry, trim any excess pastry and crimp your edges. Brush with beaten egg and bake at 180 for 30-35 minutes until golden and crisp.



Grasmere Gingerbread

Invented in around 1854 by a local woman named Sarah Nelson, the Grasmere Gingerbread is still made in the same house she founded it in today. She started selling her unique delicacy outside her home to locals and tourists and the word soon spread of how amazing her recipe is. 

Whilst it may not be the exact same, you could have your own go at recreating (more than 160 years later) your very own version.



You will need:

125g plain flour, 60g soft brown sugar, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 80g unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool for a minute, 1 tbsp soft preserved ginger, chopped


Preheat your oven to around 170 and brush a loaf tin with a little melted butter. Now it’s as easy as mixing all your ingredients together and combining with the melted butter. Press lightly into your tin. Now bake for 25-40 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

For more information on the history of Grasmere Gingerbread, click here.


Pot pie

Sausage, Chicken & Squash Traybake

Dave Myers, known from the iconic Hairy Bikers, is from Cumbria and often enjoys cooking recipes with local Cumbrian ingredients to remind him of home. This traybake is straight from his arsenal and uses Cumberland sausage. It’s a super comforting dish and perfect for the whole family on a cold winter’s day. Serve with wintery greens and optional chilli flakes for that extra special touch. 

For a vegetarian option, cut out the chicken and replace pork sausages with a meat-free option.



You will need:

4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in, 4–6 meaty pork sausages, 500g/1lb 2oz pumpkin or squash, cut into wedges, 2 red onions, cut into wedges, few sprigs thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme, 2 tbsp olive oil, 50ml/2fl oz red wine, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, ½ tsp chilli flakes (optional), 200g/7oz chestnut mushrooms, halved, salt and freshly ground black pepper, fresh parsley, roughly chopped, to serve (optional)


Preheat your oven to 220/200 (fan) C. Arrange your chicken, sausages, pumpkin and red onions in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over thyme and drizzle a tablespoon of oil. Mix your red wine with 100ml of water and pour this over. Roast for 30 minutes, but be sure to check 15 minutes in and turn your sausages; this will help them brown.

Mix the maple syrup with red wine vinegar and drizzle all over. Sprinkle over chilli flakes, add mushrooms and drizzle another spoon of oil. Roast for another 25-30 minutes, or until well browned. Serve with parsley and drizzle any juices over for extra taste.


Some other excellent winter Cumbrian recipes include; a classic and simple full Cumbrian breakfast, with locally sourced Cumbrian sausage and black pudding; a Saltmarsh Lamb shank, accompanied by mash and hearty greens or a staple Cumberland pie. For those looking for a sweeter option, why not try your hand at a sticky toffee pudding, Cumberland Rum Nicky.

Check out this article for 10 fantastic foods you should try when visiting Cumbria.

At  Pure Leisure, our holiday homes in Cumbria are complete with spacious, fully equipped kitchens, which means the whole family can get involved in cooking these Cumbrian recipes. If you are looking for a cosy Cumbrian getaway, get in touch with our friendly team today.