Saturday 26 December 2009

A Pork Pie (or Three)

This year for Christmas, instead of presents, my family set the task of buying a food present worth the value of £10 that we could all enjoy (which rules out cheese and booze - my sister and mum are strange beings). I racked my brains for a while, and then came up with the perfect solution. Pork. Pies. There is no such thing as Christmas without them.

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.

The Pastry:

100gr lard
100gr butter
550gr plain flour
150mls water
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.

The Meat:

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.


Su-Lin said...

Oh nice, this seems quite straightforward though time consuming. Brava for tackling them!

Ollie said...

Good job! People do seem to be making more of these these days. I bet the coarser meat worked brilliantly.

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Great job! They look fabulous. The recipe from The Prawn Cocktail Years is another great one:

Anonymous said...

Is that your initial on one of those pies? ;-)

Hollow Legs said...

Su Lin - Thanks! Pretty straightforward, yes.

Ollie - The day I made them, everyone else seemed to be too (on Twitter, anyway).

George - I did wonder if life would be easier if I used a tin / mold!

Wine sleuth - well spotted... an initial per family member.

Dan said...

Lovely looking Pork Pie Lizzie - liking the idea of foodie xmas presents as well. Especially liking the last pic of a slice.

Kavey said...

Fantastic post! They look really good.

What did the rest of the family choose for their foodie presents?

ginandcrumpets said...

Good use of a Branston pickle jar. The pies look great, your family are lucky ducks.

ginandcrumpets said...

Good use of a Branston pickle jar. The pies look great, your family are lucky ducks.

Helen said...

As you know I also tackled the porky stuffed pies! My jelly leaked out the sides and not the lid, even though I had really thick pastry. Will blog it this week as between us I reckon we've got those pies covered! Your finished pies look scrumptious by the way. Excellent variety of pickles.

Kerri said...

Oh, these look incredible. Some good tips too, if I ever get round to making them myself!