Inside a Marston's pub - customers being served by table staff

5 amazing recipes to delight pub goers

If you’re running, or looking to run, your own pub with a strong food offering, it’s all about going above and beyond to deliver recipes that capture the hearts – and taste buds! – of your guests. It will give you that crucial competitive edge, locally, and if you perfectly balance quality of ingredients, portion sizes and price, it will also deliver real profitability, because it will keep your customers coming back for more.

Great pub food balances popular British tastes – cooking what people love to eat, in other words – with amazing flavour experiences. If you go too fancy, you might alienate a proportion of your audience. If you go too simple, your customers might just want to cook for themselves rather than spend money going out for a meal. And here’s a great tip – keep your menu simple with just a few great options of starters, main courses and desserts to minimise waste and maximise profit.

With that in mind, here are five of the best pub recipes, perfectly prepared for large numbers of hungry guests.
Lancaster Bomber Cottage Pie for 40 People
Big-Batch Chicken Tikka Masala
Marston’s Pedigree Beer Battered Fish & Skin-On Chips
Bourbon and Coke Soaked Pulled Beef Brisket Sliders for 20 people
Big-Batch Chocolate Fudge Brownies for 30-40 People

Lancaster Bomber Cottage Pie for 40 people


Simple, delicious and nourishing, large-batch cottage pie will feed an entire room in a single sitting. This delicious version incorporates the robust Lancaster Bomber chestnut ale to give it a rich, beery flavour to complement the beef. On a busy Sunday, you might find yourself making two or three of these, if you carry it off with aplomb! A good tip would be to make the filling in three or four batches to keep it manageable.

Ingredients

The filling

  • 150ml sunflower or other flavourless oil
  • 10 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1kg carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5kg good beef mince
  • 300g plain white flour
  • 4.5 litres beef stock (if using cubes, use 6 stock cubes, but real beef stock will be a selling point)
  • 5 x 500ml bottles of Lancaster Bomber
  • 300g tomato paste
  • 4 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 4 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 8 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste (roughly 9 x level teaspoons of each)

The topping

  • 8kg King Edward or other floury potatoes
  • 400g butter, cut into cubes
  • 450ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 750g grated cheddar cheese (optional but recommended for a really indulgent pie)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas mark 6.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan over medium heat, then gently fry the onion and carrots for 8 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure the onion doesn’t brown. They should be softened but only lightly coloured.
  3. Add your beef mince to the onions and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring continuously until the meat is fully browned.
  4. Use a tablespoon to sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir well for 2 minutes to ensure there are no lumps.
  5. Slowly add the beef stock to the pan, stirring in between pouring, then add the Lancaster Bomber, tomato paste and bay leaves. Now bring the mixture to a simmer and then cover it with a lid. Turn the heat down to low and cook for around 25 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes to stop it from sticking, until the meat is tender, the alcohol has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Season your filling with Worcester sauce, salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir your chopped parsley into the mix. Now remove it from the heat and spoon it into oven proof dishes (you may wish to use large batch pie dishes or smaller ones, dependent on the size of your oven).
  7. Half-fill a large, commercial catering pan/stew pot with cold water and add your potatoes. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes break apart easily under pressure from a fork.
  8. Drain the potatoes thoroughly so there’s no excess water and return to the hot catering pan so that any excess moisture evaporates. Now add the butter and milk and allow it to sit for 30 seconds to avoid any lumps when mashing. Now mash until smooth and creamy and season with a little salt.
  9. Spoon the mash lightly over the filling, starting around the edges and working your way in toward the centre. For a rustic feel, leave the mash in clumps with small spaces between each so that it feels like a small mountain of potatoes. For a classic feel, smooth the potatoes out with a palette knife and swirl a fork through the topping to create a pattern.
  10. If you’re using cheese (which works really well with the rustic version), sprinkle it over the top now.
  11. Bake in the centre of the over for roughly 25 minutes or until your potatoes are golden-brown and your filling starts to bubble up around the edges.
  12. Serve in individual rustic pie dishes with a sprig of parsley to garnish.

Big-batch Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is a British National Dish. There’s plenty of debate as to where it originated. Some would say it’s a British dish, invented by first gen. Bangladeshi immigrants in the 1960s. Others think it came from a single restaurant in Scotland, while other still maintain that it hails from the Indian subcontinent and existed long before it landed on our shores. What all that debate tells us, definitively, is that pub goers love chicken tikka masala. Here’s our large-batch recipe to serve 16. Double or triple the numbers of each ingredient to make more for your hungry pub guests!

Ingredients

People often choose chicken breast to make their tikka masala, but the juiciest meat for this recipe comes from the thigh. It’s also less expensive to produce, so win-win!

The marinade

  • 3.2 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2cm-3cm cubes
  • 1L plain, full-fat yoghurt
  • 1 entire bulb of garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 4 tbsp root ginger, finely chopped or minced
  • 8 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tsp salt

The sauce

  • 4 tbsp sunflower or other flavourless oil
  • 150g butter
  • 8 medium brown onions, finely chopped
  • 1 entire bulb of garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 4 tbsp root ginger, finely chopped or minced
  • 6 tsp garam masala
  • 6 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp ground coriander seed (or coriander powder)
  • 1.5kg tomato passata
  • 3-4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1L double cream
  • 4 tsp brown sugar
  • 750ml water (optional)
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander leaf (cilantro) to garnish

Method

  1. Combine the chicken thighs with the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and cover with cling film. Marinate in the fridge for 1-8 hours (the longer the better).
  2. Once the chicken has finished marinating, heat half the oil in a large catering pan (stew pot) over a medium-high heat. When it begins to sizzle, add the chicken pieces in batches, leaving some space in the pan. (Add the remaining oil according to the number of batches.) Fry the chicken for around 3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the same catering pan. Fry the onions on a low heat until soft but not browned (around 5 minutes), scraping up and browned parts from the meat and marinade and stirring as you go.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 60 seconds, then add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander seed/powder. Fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the tomato passata, chilli powder and salt and simmer on a low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce is a thick, deep red colour.
  6. Stir the double cream and sugar into the sauce and add the chicken and its juices back into the pan. Cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to dry, pour in some of the water, as needed.
  7. Garnish with the coriander leaf and serve with naan bread and steamed white rice.

Marston’s Pedigree Beer Battered Fish & Skin-On Chips

British nationals and tourists alike love this most enduring of dishes and it’s easy to see why. Rich, filling and delicious, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the perfect pint. Our version uses our flagship, wood-fermented Pedigree bitter to give the batter a mineral-enriched, rounded, hoppy flavour to utterly delight your guests. Here’s how you make enough to serve 20 covers.

Ingredients

The Fish

  • 500g plain flour
  • 500g cornflour
  • 10 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 750ml Marston’s Pedigree (i.e. 1 ½ bottles)
  • 750ml sparkling water
  • 10L sunflower or other flavourless oil, for frying
  • 10 x fillets of cod, hake or haddock, each halved (use sustainable fish if possible – it’s good for the environment and will be a great menu selling point!)

The chips

  • 7.5kg Maris Piper or Desiree potatoes, sliced into thick chips (we’ve left the skin on, but you can peel them if you prefer).

Method

  1. Mix the flour, cornflour, baking powder and turmeric in a large, commercial catering bowl, season with salt. Put 4 tbsp of the mixture into a cup and set aside.
  2. Slowly add the Marston’s Pedigree and then the sparkling water into the bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to get rid of any lumps. Now leave the batter to one side while you make the chips.
  3. Once you have chipped the potatoes, put them in a large bowl and add boiling water. Leave them in the water for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry with kitchen paper (this is very important as wet chips will make the oil spit when frying).
  4. Heat the oil in a commercial fryer until a drop of batter sizzles and goes immediately crispy. Now add the chips and cook for 12-15 minutes until golden. When the chips have been cooking for 4-5 minutes, it’s time to add the fish.
  5. Pat your fish dry with kitchen paper and toss it in the turmeric and flour you set aside in the cup. Now dip each piece into the batter and carefully lower it into the oil with the chips and cook for 7-8 minutes until golden and crispy.
  6. Remove the fish and chips and drain thoroughly. Serve with tartar sauce, salt and brown vinegar for a classic chippy flavour.

Tip: For extra crispy chips, cook and remove them from the fryer before you cook the fish. Then, add them back into the fryer 2 minutes before you finish cooking the fish. Twice cooked chips are a real indulgent treat!

Bourbon and Coke Soaked Pulled Beef Brisket Sliders for 20 people

Here’s an original recipe that will delight your guests craving that rich, American-style experience. Sliders are slightly smaller than burger buns, so you market them at a slightly lower price point and encourage your customers to buy a few to their taste and level of hunger. Pulled pork is, of course, the classic Texas BBQ meat, but we’ve replaced it with beef to give it that classic British pub experience and doused it in a BBQ sauce of Knob Creek Bourbon and Coca Cola to give it a true American, aromatic, rounded finish. A real selling point for your customers! This will easily serve 20 hungry customers!

Ingredients

The Brisket

  • 4 tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 4 tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp pimentón (smoked paprika)
  • 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder (or 2 ½ if you want to market it as ‘spicy’)
  • 4kg good beef brisket (most likely 2 pieces)
  • 800ml beef stock (ideally real beef stock, but if you use stock cubes, use 2)

The BBQ sauce

  • 500ml red wine vinegar
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 500ml Tomato Ketchup
  • 150ml Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon (a big selling point for your menu)
  • 150ml Coca Cola (another big selling point for the recipe – real Coke!)
  • 200ml of the brisket cooking juices
  • Worcester sauce

The Sliders

  • 1.2kg plain flour
  • 2 x sachets fast acting yeast
  • 10 tsp salt
  • 20 tsp caster sugar
  • 750ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 60g butter (plus more for greasing the bread tin)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten (ideally free range as you can up-sell that in your menu)

Method

  1. Start with the brisket as this takes the longest. Toast the mustard seeds in a dry frying pan and cool for a couple of minutes, then crush them into a powder in a pestle. Add the cumin, coriander, black pepper, sugar, pimentón and chillis and mix.
  2. Score the flesh of the beef with a sharp knife and rub the dry spice mix all over the brisket pieces. Roll them up tight and tie them with cook’s string. Put them in a bowl, cover with foil and refrigerate for 1-12 hours (the longer the better – we highly recommend overnight).
  3. When the beef has finished marinating in the dry rub, pre-heat the oven to 160ºC/Gas Mark 3. Put the briskets onto a roasting rack inside a roasting pan so they don’t make direct contact with the bottom of the pan and pour the stock into the pan. Cover with foil and tuck around the sides so no moisture at all can escape and cook for 5-6 hours. Check around once an hour to make sure no moisture has escaped by tilting the pan. Remove the foil to check if it feels low and top up with water if it does.
  4. After 5 or 6 hours, the beef should just fall apart at the touch of a fork. Leave it for 25 minutes before you make the attempt, though, and reserve the cooking juices.
  5. Now make the sliders. Put the flour in a mixer with a dough hook (or in a bowl if you intend to knead by hand) and add the yeast, salt and sugar.
  6. Warm the milk and butter until the butter is just melted and then add to the flour mix. Knead in the machine or by hand for 8-10 minutes until the dough is shiny and smooth. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm, dark place for 2 hours.
  7. Once your dough is doubled in size, knock it back and knead by hand. Now split it into 48 pieces, which should each weigh around 40g, and roll them into balls.
  8. Grease two large baking trays with butter and place your dough balls onto them, spaced apart just slightly. Now cover them with oiled cling film and put them back in a warm place to prove again for an hour. Halfway through proving, preheat the oven to 220ºC/Gas Mark 7.
  9. Remove the film from the sliders and brush them with the beaten egg. Now bake for 12 minutes or until they’re a lovely golden-brown. Remove the tray from the oven to cool.
  10. Now it’s time for the BBQ sauce. Put a large catering saucepan over a high heat, add the vinegar and bring to the boil. Halfway through, turn the heat down until the vinegar reduces by about half. Then add the sugar, ketchup, Coke, Knob Creek, Worcester sauce and brisket juices. Bring the sauce to the boil to evaporate the alcohol, then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly to stop it from sticking and burning.
  11. Remove the brisket from the rack it’s been resting on and gently pull it apart using 2 forks. Now add it to the sauce on the stove, along with all remaining juices from the roasting tin. Bring the whole mixture back to a low simmer and gently cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking.
  12. Slice those sliders through the centre and serve your delicious brisket on top of them. Add a slice of cheese for pure indulgence (and an extra 50p) and serve with chips (see above recipe for details) and slaw. We recommend 2 per person.

Big-Batch Chocolate Fudge Brownies for 30 people

Nothing says, ‘come back to my pub anytime,’ better than a gloriously indulgent dessert of fudgy chocolate brownie with creamy chocolate sauce topping. We recommend serving with a scoop of pecan and caramel ice cream on the side to really give your customers that extra special treatment.

Ingredients

The Brownies

  • 7 large eggs (free range if you can, as your customers will love that)
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 400g muscovado sugar
  • 100g molasses or black treacle
  • 500g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 450g butter, melted and cooled
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk

The chocolate spread

  • 1kg caster sugar
  • 700g cocoa powder
  • 125g butter
  • 175ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. First, the brownies. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl for 1 minute, then add the sugars, treacle, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla and beat until blended.
  2. Now add the flour, melted butter and milk to the batter and fold in until well blended. Scrape any mixture that sticks to the sides into the batter.
  3. Pour the batter into a baking tin, roughly 30cm x 45cm in size and spread so it covers the tin evenly. Bake at 175ºC/Gas Mark 3 for around 25 minutes (until set in the centre). Remove and place on a rack until the sauce is ready.
  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add all the other ingredients, mixing until smooth and creamy. Pour over the brownies and serve.

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