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Phil Vickery's authentic Addams Family feast

Along with our mysterious guest, we’re sitting down for a delicious feast prepared by Grandmama. She, or should we say Phil Vickery, will be serving a real favourite at Cemetery Lane - his gruesome thumb pie with mash.

Thumb pie and blood mash

Serves 4


For the pie:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

900g chuck steak,  cut into 4cm dice, leaving any fat on

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp tomato puree, heaped

2 small onions, very finely chopped

1 tbsp creamed horseradish

2 x 10g beef stock cubes, crumbled

3 tbsp Worcester sauce

2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

600 ml boiling water, roughly

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

500g block shortcrust pastry

1 or 2 slices of Parma ham

Whole almond

1 lightly beaten egg

For the sauce:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 small red onions, sliced

375ml red wine

Small bunch fresh thyme

1 tbsp tomato puree

750ml fresh beef or chicken stock

2 tsp cornflour

Red food colouring paste, optional

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mashed potatoes, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 160C, Gas 3. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a deep casserole dish or ovenproof pan, then add the meat and cook until nicely browned all over.

3. Sprinkle on the flour, and stir well to let the flour catch slightly - this helps to give the stew a nice colour and flavour.

4. Add the tomato puree, onions, horseradish, stock cubes, Worcester sauce and fresh thyme and mix well. Add enough boiling water to just cover the stew, season well with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer.

5. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and place in the preheated oven cook for 1½ -2 hours, nice and gently, or until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool. 

6. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Cut off 25g of the pastry and roll into a sausage shape about 11cm long. Roll out the remaiaing pastry and cut out a lid to fit the top of the pie dish.

7. Spoon the cooled beef mixture into a pie dish, and leave nice and proud.

8. Lightly egg the pastry rim, and lay the top neatly over, making sure not to stretch the pastry. Seal the edges well, trim again and crimp.

9. Brush well with beaten egg and make a large cross shaped incision in the centre. Place on a baking sheet with the pastry ‘thumb’ alongside it. Bake the pie for 35-40 minutes, or until well browned and hot, removing the pastry ‘thumb’ after about the first 15- 20 minutes.

10. Meanwhile, make the ‘blood’ sauce - heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until they are softened and starting to turn golden.

11. Add the wine and thyme and simmer rapidly for 5 - 10 minutes to reduce the liquid by about half.

12. Stir in the tomato puree and beef stock and continue to simmer rapidly for a further 15 minutes, or until the sauce is well reduced. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch or two of sugar. For a deep red colour, you can add a little red food colouring if you wish.

13. Mix together the cornflour and 2 tsp cold water to make a paste, then stir into the sauce and simmer for a further minute, stirring, to thicken. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the onions and thyme.

14. Wrap the Parma ham around the pastry ‘thumb’ to cover it and poke the almond in at the top to look like a nail.

15. Insert the ‘thumb’ into the lid of the pie. Serve with mashed potatoes and drizzle over the ‘blood’ sauce.

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