“Desperate Dan” Cow Pie Recipe

By The Nosh Team -Posted on 10th Jun 2013  
cow pie cropped 2

Recipe info

Cost: £1.90 / Person

Serves: 4

Ease: ****

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 120 mins


  • oil to fry
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 750g stewing beef
  • 2 mugs water
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated beef stock or 1 beef stock cube
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm slices (no need to peel)
  • 25g softened butter (measure using packet)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
Shortcrust Pastry
  • 175g butter (measure using packet)
  • 2 mugs/340g self-raising flour
  • 1 beaten egg + 1⁄4 mug water

  1. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions, until they become soft and a little brown.
  2. Add the meat and fry until no longer pink on the outside.
  3. Add the 2 mugs of water, stock and carrots and bring to the boil. Put a lid on the pan and turn down to simmer for 11⁄2 hours.
  4. Add the potatoes to some boiling water and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer for 8–10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Drain and return to the pan.
  5. Heat the oven to 180ºC fan oven/200ºC/gas 6.
  6. Mix the softened butter and flour together, add to the meat and stir well. The gravy should thicken. If most of the liquid has boiled away, add another mug of water.
  7. Pour the meat mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish. Put the cooked potatoes on top.
  8. Make the pastry, see page 32. Roll out the pastry and place over the potatoes. Cut to size and pinch the edges of the pastry. Make a little hole in the centre for the steam to get out. This stops the pastry from going soggy. Brush the top with beaten egg.
  9. Place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is browned on top.

add your comment or request a recipe:

  • The Nosh Team - sorry to disappoint Hamish, I think the horns are only possible in the cartoons :-)
    04 Aug 2020
  • Hamish McCreight - All the attempts I have seen so far are piss poor with absolutely crap attempts to make the horns. The original cartoon shows the horns are ACTUAL CURVED HORNS and the pie dish is oval. In the 21sr century with the amazing cooking techniques revealed on TV - surely some talented chef can actually make someithing that REALLY looks like horn but is edible. Eternally disappointed !!!!!!!!
    03 Apr 2020
  • Gordon Williams - What about the horns?
    27 Sep 2019
  • El Tel - Simply brilliant, well done.
    23 Feb 2016
  • 10 Reasons to use a food processor? | Tuesday Cooking Tips | noshbooks.com - [...] I prefer it to a traditional food mixer as you can watch what is happening and not overwork the pastry. As soon as it comes together to make a dough you can stop it. So much quicker and cleaner than by hand, also if you make pastry by hand the heat from your hands will warm the butter slightly, whereas the processor keeps it as cool as possible. I used the food processor in my Desperate Dan Cow pie recipe. [...]
    09 Jul 2013

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