There is something glorious about the simplicity of traditional pork pie. In effect it has two ingredients , the produce of a pig and wheat flour. We can allow ourselves a few spices , and a torn herb leaf or two, perhaps a few stock veg for the jelly but really it is the triumph of cookery to turn beast and grass into a delicious transportable lunch.
I love pork pie, and the best come from England. I had amazing pork pie at a lunch at Hook Norton Brewery with the production staff and the main man James Clarke , but I also had great ones snatched from M&S and eaten on trains. I have been working on improving my pork pie game for a while now. I think I finally have done it. To be honest discovering this chap Mr Paul’s Pantry was a big help. Unlike many recipes out there adulterating their pastry with butter and oil, Mr Paul a former butcher is adamant that lard , water , salt are all that should go into hot water pastry. Low and behold following his advice has seen my hot water pastry improve immeasurably.
My recipe here is influenced by his but with a few more flavourings in the filling.
I also started by making my own lard by rendering the fat that I trimmed from the shoulder and belly along with a little pork skin sold for ‘crackling’ . I did this simply by putting it in the slow cooker over night and then straining the crunchy solids from the lard and allowing it to cool.
450 g Pork Shoulder cut to finger nail sized pieces
300 g Pork Belly cut very fine
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon ground mixed pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seed ground
3 sage leaves sliced fine
For the Pastry
400 g bread Flour (I include a tablespoon of gluten flour)
150 g Water
160 g Lard
½ tsp Salt
1 egg yoke beaten for glaze
For the Jelly
500g pork bones , plus any trimmed skin from the shoulder and belly
1 teaspoon gelatin
Handful of mirepoix
3 bay leaves
700ml chicken stock
Boil water and lard and salt , add to flour in a mixer or bowl , mix until combined and then continue mixing or turn out and need for 10 minutes to develop gluten.
Set aside to cool.
Combine pork filling ingredients in a bowl and combine with your hands.
Once the pastry has cooled to room temperature for 4 hours or so divide in 4, then divide each quarter into a ¾ piece and a ¼ piece.
Roll out the ¾ piece and place in a well greased baby spring form tin , mould it in with your fingers.
Add a ball of filling , roll out the ¼ piece and fit this in as a lid, squeeze the edges together then crimp.
Cut a small hold in the top.
Place in the freezer for 1 hour , at this point the pies should be firm enough to ease out of the springform tins. Place them on a baking tray and refrigerate overnight.
Place pork bones , mirepoix, bay and chicken stock in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for an hour, top up with stock or water if it boils off to much.
Strain and the return to the stove and rapidly boil till you have about 400ml.
Pour into jug, cover and refrigerate over night.
Next morning heat oven to 180c degrees.
Paint the tops and side of the pies with the egg yoke glaze
Place tray into the oven and bake for 1 hour , remove from oven , increase heat to 200c
Apply another coat of egg glass and return to the oven for a further 30min
Take out and allow to cool for 40min on the bench.
Take jelly from the fridge. If its not solid at fridge temperature it will be need some gelatin added.
Heat jug for 2 minutes in the microwave , if adding gelatin whisk it into the hot stock to incorporate
Using a small funnel , pour jelly into the pies through the hole on the top.
Allow the pies to fully cool before eating or storing in the fridge.