This week is National Pie Week so I thought I would make some yummy pork pies. Pork pies are very English and date back to medieval England. Typically made in the Autumn when farmers would slaughter their pigs to give them food for the winter. I used to make these a lot when I was working on a delicatessen but haven’t made them for a while so had to dig the recipe out.
You will need:-
For the filling:
300g bone-in pork shoulder, ask your butcher to remove the bone but save it, ask for it to be minced
1 ham hock again with the bone remove and keep this one too- you will need approximately 200g, ask for this to be minced up too
100g streaky bacon, chopped finely
1/2tsp wholegrain mustard
1/2tsp mustard powder
1/2tsp fine salt
1/2tsp ground white pepper
1/2tsp ground black pepper
1/2tsp ground allspice
1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
6 finely chopped sage leaves
1tsp anchovy essence
For the jelly:
1 pig’s trotter
1 carrot cut into chunks
1 celery stalk or leaves cut into chunks
1 onion cut into quarters
6 black peppercorns
bunch of fresh parsley stalks
If you don’t have the time then you can make a quick jelly using gelatine sheets, fresh herbs and a good stock cube.
For the hot water crust pastry:
250g plain flour
1/2tsp icing sugar
1 egg plus an extra yolk for glazing
Makes 5 delicious mini pork pies
Time: A long time!
Start by chopping up the veg for the stock.
Put into a large pan plus both of the bones kept from the butchers and cover all ingredients with cold water.
Put on a high heat, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any scum as you go. Cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for two hours. Strain ingredients and discard. Return your stock to the saucepan and put on a high heat and reduce to approx 200ml. Remove and leave to cool.
Next is to mix all of your herbs and spices with the pork. Get your hands involved here and give it a good squeeze!
Get your scales out and weigh the pork mixture into 120g balls. Set aside.
Now for the pastry. Sift your flour, salt and icing sugar into a heat proof bowl. Make a well in the middle and crack in your egg. Stir in. Put the lard and 100ml water into a saucepan on a gentle heat. Once the lard has melted turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Make a well in the flour mix again and pour in the lard. Now if you have rubber gloves then I prefer to mix the lard in with my hands but be careful as the mixture will be extremely hot. If not then use a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together so that it has a smooth texture.
Now divide into five lots of balls approx 30-35g and five lots of larger balls approx 65-70g. If you are cooking on an Aga then leave in a bowl on top as it is important that the pastry does not dry out. If not it might be a good idea to cover with foil to try and keep the heat in.
Now this is a little tip. Gently warm the bottom of a large frying pan. This helps to stop your pastry from drying out. Take your larger ball of pastry and flatten into a circle. Take your smaller ball of dough and flatten out into a smaller circle. Put your pork mixture onto the large round of pastry and pick up the pastry with the pork inside. This is quite tricky! Take your smaller circle and place on the top of the pork mixture and now pinch both lots of pastry together and crimp the edges. If you have a muffin tray then set aside to allow the pastry to harden into a pie shape. If not then an empty tuna can is just as good. Repeat this step with the other pies.
Once this is done, take a lid of an oil bottle or something similar and use to cut a hole into the top of each pie so that the steam can escape.
Another tip. When glazing any dish only use an egg yolk, do not use the egg white. It is the yolk that gives the beautiful colour not the white! Brush on your egg making sure that you do the sides of your pies as well.
I have put some sesame seeds on top of mine but some mixed herbs or something similar will be just as good. Now they are ready for the oven. I cooked mine in the roasting oven of the Aga on the floor for 40 minutes and they came out perfectly. For a normal oven cook in the middle of the oven on 220 degrees for 40 minutes.
Remove and leave to cool for 15-20 minutes. Then get a small funny or jug and pour the jelly mixture in through the top of the pies. This can take a while and you do have to keep topping up. Don’t lose patience now though as you are very nearly there! If your jelly has already set then just re-heat in a saucepan so that it liquidises again.
Someone else smelt my cooking straight away!
Leave your pork pies to cool and your jelly to set for at least two hours and then serve with some lovely mustard. Ploughmans are one of my favourite plates as I very much like to have a little nibble of lots of lovely flavours. A slice of pork pie is always a great addition to this plate so why not serve yours this way?
Pie Fact: The word ‘pie’ comes from ‘magpie’. Magpies are known for collecting anything interesting and shiny to make their nests with. The similarity being that early pies were filled with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables and fruit!