McRobb Butchers Wigan lobby pie with beetroot

By |2021-06-16T14:26:56+01:00June 16th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Good Pie Guide, Meat and Potato Pie, North West|Tags: , , , , , , , |

I paid my first visit to McRobb’s Butchers on Saturday, primarily to get BBQ gear but of course, there was no way I was leaving without a pie.

McRobb’s are based in Chorley, Lancashire but also have an outlet in a nearby retail centre, where I have previously bought their meat but now, they have a shop in the centre of Standish village. And what a shop it is! It is hard to distinguish from a posh wine bar with the dark green canopies and wood panelled signage, all giving off an air of opulence. Upon entry, it is wall to wall, fridge to fridge meats, seasonings and pies. Not sure my missus would appreciate the dead animals hung up but if you want to know whether the meat is fresh….you can literally name your cut and point to it and one of the helpful chaps and ladies in aprons bustling around the counters will sort you out.

I picked up a load of sausages, burgers, and skewers and then cast my eye over the pie selection. I have been notified of this one before but yet to try it. The subtle difference between my first book Life of Pies and my next one is that I have learnt to deviate from the bog standard meat and potato pie, much as I love them. So I felt duty obliged to taste test the Wigan “Lobbie” pie with beetroot.

The beetroot, I should add is IN the pie. If I’m honest, I’d prefer it without beetroot, purely to make room for more meat. But then beetroot is a super food so maybe it will help me power through the afternoon’s calls and meetings. And perhaps turn my wee a funny colour.

But what is a lobbie, you non North West natives, might ask? Well, lobbies (plural) are a pan of stew, akin to Lancashire hotpot but without a crust lid. It’s actually thought to originate in Leigh not Wigan. So this, of course is technically a lobby and beetroot filled pie, in a whole crust. Or a meat and veg pie, with a layer of beetroot in it. Into the oven you pop then.

The top crust looks a bit crinkled, possibly due to me buying it on Saturday and sticking it in the fridge for a few days, but upon removing the paper wrapper, I am suitably impressed with the size and dimensions of it.

Twenty minutes later and it is ready and there is a pleasant pastry aroma floating around the kitchen. The pie slips effortlessly out of the foil tray and on to my plate and the density and weight of it surprises me a little. The pastry has darkened a touch in the oven and is slightly flakey on top, but it has held together nicely. I cut it in half to see what purple delights lie within and find a perfect layer of beetroot, evenly spread and nestling just below the top crust. It bleeds a little bit into the crust and into the filling below but it is very aesthetically pleasing and the pie holds together in the hands throughout.

The beetroot is sweet and crunchy and compliments the soft fluffy potato and mince very well. I must admit that when I have an actual hot pot, I tend to go for pickled onions over beetroot and red cabbage but the flavour is well balanced within and the pastry is soft on the inside, with a crisp outer texture.

If I’m truthful, I could take or leave the beetroot, it is there purely to add a slightly sweet and pickled taste to the pie and provide a bit of novelty value. Nevertheless, there is still a good inch of so of filling underneath consisting of mince meat, potato, carrots and gentle seasoning.

It is also priced competitively at £2.30 and in line with the nearby pie shops. They also have a hot counter with all manner of pies and sausage rolls, so that you can pick one up ready to eat. I’ve only just scratched the surface here.

McRobbs, I shall return!

Current pricing (June 2021)

A Wigan “lobby” pie with beetroot costs £2.30. They also sell chunk steak, lamb and mint, chicken and leek, meat and potato pies and a lobby pie without beetroot. Plus a load of other stuff including some terrific cuts for your barbecue…

Website: http://Www.Mcrobbbutchers.co.uk/
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Bowen’s Meat and Potato Pie

By |2020-12-24T12:37:28+00:00December 24th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Life of Pies|Tags: , , , , , , |

Time for another North West fave, although as with Turners Pies, Bowens Pies now serve the whole country.

I didn’t know much about them, when I started my research in Life of Pies, just that they had supplied the pies for the annual Wigan Pie Eating awards. Little did I know that both then and now, they supply a large number of pubs and shops throughout the Wigan area and beyond.

Although based just outside Wigan, in nearby Adlington, they have built up a wide distribution network across the town, in a classic “coals to Newcastle” stunt. But trust me here, Bowen’s pies are every bit the Wigan pie and I was taken aback by the quality when I first tried them.
Since then, I have used them for numerous functions, including my first book launch and the cover of the draft for my new book, also features a platter of their produce. Magnificent isn’t it?

Anyway, let me take you back and set the scene, way back to my first time in August 2012….

116. Bowen’s Meat and Potato Pie

It’s 25 degrees outside and, whereas it might be splendid weather for a jaunt around middle England, there’s no bloody way I’m sitting in a car for four hours with the family in tow.

So I’m checking out Bowens of Adlington. I chanced upon them mainly because I saw a van go past me the other day. I also noticed that they were the suppliers for last year’s World pie eating contest (held in Wigan obviously!)

Their website features gratuitous full frontal minced beef and potato pie photos with no 9pm watershed, and they also do their own steak puddings, another fine Lancashire delicacy. I need to refrain from making any disparaging comments about Adlington or its’ natives however, as my wife teaches there.

A brief canter up Chorley Road, past the infamous Duxbury Park golf course, where I once shot an impressive 120. I took so long to go around, that they’d shut the place by the time I finished and I had to get a taxi home wearing my golf shoes. I wouldn’t mind but I’d cheated on a number of holes too.

It’s heavy going on the roads, due to the sheer volume of middle aged fat blokes, wobbling down the road on flimsy looking bicycles. It’s as if a local lad has just won the Tour de France or something!

Bowens is across the road from Babylon Lane, not on it, hence ruining my attempts to do a poor gag about Babylon Lane being paradise. (Ed’s note: they have also moved premises since)

Nevertheless it’s bright blue sign draws me across the busy road like a tractor beam. A little girl playfully blocks my way and refuses to let me gain ingress to the premises, until a big fella with protruding teeth, presumably her dad, tells her to “gerrout road!!” I blame the teachers myself!! Whoops!

There is a huge, high silver counter, dominating the shop, containing a myriad of products and a handful of staff in aprons, beavering away in white pork pie hats. Service is brisk, just as well as I’m on double yellows.

Loads of choice of pie fillings, although I select my accompaniment from the rack of Lancashire crisps on display which includes Salt and Ellseys vinegar (an old traditional Wigan vinegar company) and Bumble’s favourite, Lancashire sauce flavour crisps.

The pie? Oh yes, it’s a blinder!!

116.
Purveyor: Bowens
Premises: Adlington, nr Chorley
Purchase: Meat and Potato Pie £1.19

Place: 8 Polite and brisk
Pastry: 8 A sturdy, solid shortcrust
Presentation: 8 Even with the window fully down, it still smells lush in my car and is still piping hot 30 minutes later, when I tuck in
Package: 9 Huge, uncompromising slabs of golden spud concatenated with lots of flowing meat and juices
Palate: 9 Hits the spot from the first bite, with a hint of pepper but natural flavour pouring out too
Price: 8.5 Good price and great value
Portion: 9 Possessing both width and girth, I mean depth

OVERALL: 59.5/70 Exceptional, we are truly spoilt around these parts. At the risk of sounding parochial, whoever’s written that top 10 pies article on the MSN website is talking out of their arse (Editor’s note: This was eight years ago, so I’ve no chance of finding it!) and needs to spend the day around the North West scoffing a few of these beauties. A truly phenomenal pie and the crisps were fantastic too.

The finer details:

The original review took place on Saturday 11th August 2012. Bowens continue to grow and thrive as a great pie business, in fact putting up this blog is making me want to jump in the car and drive to Adlington.

You can buy their pies online HERE or pop into their shops if you are local. Popular flavours include steak, pork, cheese and onion and that old Lancashire favourite, the Butter Pie.

Current pricing (December 2020)
A Bowen’s meat and potato pie is just £2.00 if you pick one up from the shops

Website: Bowen Award Winning Pies – Wigan (bowenpies.co.uk)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bowenpies
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