Saturday, December 12, 2009
I decided to make some British style Pork Pies after being inspired by this video. I love recipes that take very simple ingredients (in this case pork, fat, salt, pepper, flour), treat them with care, and turn them into into something great.
I started by brining some pork loin in a basic brining solution for a couple days.
I cubed up the meat,
and ran it through the coarse plate on my meat grinder. Next, I chopped some partially frozen fatback into a 1/8th inch dice.
The meat and the fat went into a bowl to await the most crucial ingredient to a pork pie.
The crucial ingredient I am speaking of is pork jelly. That is right, delicious meat jelly, a crucial player in creating the delicious texture of a pork pie. I made mine out of some pork neck bones and the skin from the fatback.
Strained and chilled you are left with a wobbly bowl of pork jelly. Some people would roast the bones for a darker, more strongly flavored jelly, but I like the more mellow flavor of raw bones in this application.
Some salt, and a bunch of cracked pepper go in and that is all she wrote. A lot of recipes call for sage and allspice, but I prefer the sweetness of pork by its lonesome.
Next, we have the crust to deal with. We use a traditional hot water pastry recipe for this. For the delightful flakiness of a pork pie crust, lard is the only lipid that will do. Melt the requisite amount in some water, I think it looks pretty.
Along with some standard white flour the water and lard become a rich, shiny dough. You need to throw the mess in the fridge for about an hour so that you can shape it into wee pies
I formed the pies by patting out a rough circle of dough by hand, putting a sort of flattened pork meatball in the center, and then folding the dough up around the sides. They get topped off by a smaller circle of dough and the edges are crimped with the tines of a fork. The last step is to poke a large-ish hole in the middle to allow steam to escape. I thought my pies came out looking very much like actual pork pies.
A little egg wash on top and these go in the oven for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees.
I was very pleased at a nibble of the golden brown crust, richness and flakiness FTW. Pork pies are traditionally eaten cold as the jelly needs to set, I prefer them slightly warm. Here is an especially pretty one.
Here we have the center, slightly ugly and grey, but delicious none the less. You can see the coarseness of the pork flecked with fatback.
A little English mustard or some Branston pickle (which I picked up at the Slingerlands Chops) and you have a little slice of porky heaven in your hand. I was thoroughly pleased with how these came out, but I will see how some of my friends like them. I think the concentrated porkiness might be a bit much for some. If anyone is interested in a more exact recipe, let me know and I will post a follow up. Cheers.