I'd first seen Josh's entry for these over a year ago and had book marked them to try, but of course never got round to it. With a combination of his and Just Cook It's recipe, I devised my own. A day was booked off work - this is a lengthy process and the weekend was too far away - and I set to work.
First thing's first, the jelly that surrounds the meat and the pastry needed to be made. Two pigs trotters, cleaved in half, went into a litre of chicken stock with bay leaves, black peppercorns, carrots, onion and celery. You want to simmer this for three hours, then strain it, and reduce it to 300mls.
550gr plain flour
1.5 tsp salt
2 eggs, plus one for glazing
Melt the lard and the butter in a saucepan but don't boil it. Add the salt to the flour, then break the eggs in and mix the water and fat. Mix until you have a smooth ball, wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.
375gr pork shoulder
375gr belly pork
2 rashers of smoked back bacon
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Chop the meat into small chunks. I couldn't be bothered to chop it any more finely, so I had quite coarse meat which I liked. In a mixing bowl, add the nutmeg, chopped sage, thyme, peppers and some salt. Mix together well, and take a teaspoonful and fry it, to check the seasoning. Food can taste a bit more bland when cold so be generous with the salt.
To make the pastry, pat into a rectagular shape and then cut in half. Then cut a third off each half to reserve for the lids. Using a well floured jar, shape the pies around the outside of the jar (I used a Branston Pickle jar). Ease the jar out and then fill with the meat mixture. Roll the lid out to fit the top of the pie and cut a hole out of the centre. Crimp the lid onto the pie.
I wanted to make a mini pie as well which is why I have three, but this amount should make two large pies. Glaze the pies with the remaining egg, and place in a preheated oven on 180 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn it down to 160 for 20 minutes.
Take the pies out and leave to cool a little. Stick a small funnel in the hole of the top and pour (VERY carefully) the trotter stock into the pie. Be slow about it as it takes some time to get in there. Leave to cool, and refridgerate overnight before eating with copious pickles and mustard.
There's a few things I learnt from this pie adventure. Firstly - make absolutely sure you've crimped your lids on properly. After a warning from someone on Twitter, I thought I had made sure the lids were well sealed. Not so. As such, I had to make up a water / flour solution to plug the seams with to stop the jelly stock from dribbling out, and then pick the seam off. It worked, but it was a faff. Also, don't try and roll the lid too thinly, or it will crack right down the middle (but still taste good). Otherwise, these were perfect.