I’ve always been fascinated with meat pies. Not the modern versions of it with the mashed potato topping or even the ones with the rich gravy. What I want are the hearty meat-packed pies that I read about in stories of old England. I’ve searched for recipes before, I’ve even watched the Sorted video on Pork Pie, but I’ve always been put off by the lard in the pastry. I decided to bite the bullet and do it over the weekend (why I decided to do it on a weekend when I was getting new lighting and new furniture, I’ve no idea), but with a cheat; I was looking for store-bought shortcrust pastry. As fate would have it, I couldn’t find the frozen pastry and I saw lard, so I said to myself, “why the heck not?”.
I followed Gordon Ramsey’s Pork and Ham Pie but used different cuts of pork and seasoning. I wanted a good mix of lean and fatty meat so that the pie would not be too dry. Had a minor boo boo – thought the lard I bought at the supermarket would melt right down but after putting in the liquids to melt, realised that the recipe called for rendered pork lard, rather than the stuff that they cut off the pig. Thank goodness I could still render down the fats to give me enough lard for the recipe. The good bit about rendering your own fat? The crunchy pieces of fried pork lard after. Delish! Definitely be hitting the gym this week.
- 300g minced pork
- 400g shoulder butt, cut into small cubes
- 200g smoked pork belly
- 1 tablespoon of chopped sage
- cumin, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste (over-season it a little as the pies are served cold)
- 100g lard
- 450g all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoon milk
- 150 ml water
- 1 egg, beaten
- Mix all the ingredients for the filling and put aside. To test whether the meat is well-seasoned, take a bit out and fry it and taste.
- Prepare 12-tin muffin tin by oiling, dusting with flour and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Heat up the lard, milk and water until the lard melts.
- Pour lard mixture into flour and mix using a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough a little until malleable and smooth.
- Wrap 1/3 of pastry in cling wrap for the pie tops (pastry works best when it is still warm).
- Split the remaining pastry into 12 portions and line the bottoms and sides of the tins, leaving an overhang of pastry over the top.
- Fill with meat and tightly pack them in.
- Take out the remaining pastry, split into 12 portions and cover the pies with the pastry.
- Poke a hole in the tops to allow for the steam to escape and to fill with gelatin stock after it’s cooked.
- Brush on the egg wash.
- Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
- When it’s still hot, pour in the gelatin stock and cool. After which, put it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
To clarify, I did not put in the gelatin stock (I tried, but I just couldn’t get the stock into the hole!), but it still tastes good anyhow. Instead of using a muffin tin, you could do what the Sorted boys did, which was to mould the pie round a glass and freezing it. That may have been a better idea as my pies did stick to the tin despite me oiling it to bits and removing them were a bitch. The ingredients were enough to make 12 mini-pork pies instead of 1 big pie. I had no issues with a soggy bottom, everything was nice and crisp, even after a couple of hours.
Definitely a bit of a hassle, but well-worth it, I love biting through the crispy crust to the flavourful meat and the fact that I made this from scratch? Makes me feel good. Hope it makes you feel as good if you try it.