Legendary Dishes | The Meat Pie

FriedPorkBelly
Fried Pork Belly – the secret ingredient in rustic pork pies
EUROPE

The meat pie appears to be a northern European invention with a very long history.

Traditionally made with short crust pastry – flour, lard and water – the original pies were filled with all kinds of game meat and flavoured with the foods of the forest.

Although there is an argument that pork meat was used, particularly in Britain, and this established the pie tradition we know today.

Certainly it became a city-country divide – game in the country, pork in the city.


Game Pie

JuniperBerries
Juniper Berries – an essential ingredient in game pies

A puff pastry lid is adequate if the emphasis is on the contents, and it is easier but the traditional dish calls for thick hot water pastry.

These days the kind of pastry once used for raised pies is no longer acceptable, so the choice of dough is entirely personal.

This is the traditional hot water pastry recipe, the icing sugar a modern touch.

Game pies were always about the fruits, game, herbs, spices and vegetables of the field and forest, and this combination is still favoured across nothern Europe.

Dough

  • 450 g strong white flour
  • 150 ml water
  • 125 g lard
  • 15 g pepper
  • 10 g salt
  • 1 tsp icing sugar

Meat Choices

  • Hare – breast meat
  • Partridge – breast meat
  • Pheasant – breast meat
  • Pigeon – breast meat
  • Rabbit – breast meat
  • Venison – loin meat

Filling

  • 1.25 kg meat, chopped small
  • 300 g forest mushrooms, chopped
  • 150 g bacon, chopped
  • 150 g chicken liver, chopped
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 100 g chestnuts, chopped
  • 50 g apricots, chopped
  • 30 g sage, chopped
  • 15 g juniper berries, crushed
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp rosemary / tarragon, chopped
  • Allspice, ground, large pinch
  • Sunflower oil, for frying

Jelly

  • 500 ml aspic / jelly (see raised pie recipe)

Marinade

  • 150 ml red wine / stout
  • 30 g pomegranate seeds, ground
  • 15 g paprika, smoked
  • 15 ml soy sauce
  • 10 thyme sprigs
Thyme
Thyme

Marinade the meat overnight, drain any excess liquid.

Sauté garlic and onions in oil over a low heat in a large frying pan, add mushrooms and when they begin to wilt add the bacon and liver, cover and simmer for ten minutes, leave to cool.

Work the meat and mushroom mixture with the herbs and spices in a large bowl into a homogenous mass, add apricots and chestnuts, and any wild berries to hand. Set aside.

Bring the lard and water to the boil.

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add pepper and sugar.

Pour the hot liquid into a well in the centre of the flour, and using a sturdy wooden spoon quickly form into a soft dough.

Push the dough into the bottom and sides of a large pie tin, cutting off the excess dough to use for the lid.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Pack the tin with the filling, roll the remaining dough out, place over the filling, crimping the edges.

Left over pieces of dough should be shaped into decorations for the lid. Pierce a hole in the centre of the lid.

Reduce oven temperature to 180°C, bake for 90 minutes.

If a golden colour is desired, remove pie from oven, brush lid with a beaten egg, then bake for 30 minutes at 160°C.

Heat the jelly stock, pour slowly into the hole in the centre of the pie lid, leave to cool.


Raised Pie

Traditionally baked with a casing to keep the flavoured meat clean and moist, then discarded, modern raised pies are made with a standard hot water pastry meant to be eaten.

Dough

  • 450 g flour
  • 200 g lard
  • 200 ml water
  • Salt, large pinch

Filling

  • 1 kg pork shoulder, chopped small
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 100 g anchovies, chopped
  • 30 g sage, chopped
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated

Marinade

  • 500 ml aspic, or 2 litres water
  • 1 kg assorted bones
  • 1 pig’s rotter
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 50 g mixed herbs
  • 15 g black peppercorns
  • 10 g juniper berries
  • 5 bay leaves

Cook ingredients in a large pot for three hours, strain, reduce to 500 ml.

Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

Bring the lard and water to the boil.

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add pepper and sugar.

Pour the hot liquid into a well in the centre of the flour, and using a sturdy wooden spoon quickly form into a soft dough.

On a clean surface knead the dough for five minutes.

Separate 225 g of the dough for the lid, cover with a warm towel.

Roll the remaining dough into a ball, place on a large piece of greaseproof paper.

Push a breakfast bowl, 15 cm wide, into the dough, then work it into the shape of a large pie casing, drawing up and straightening the sides, which should be thick.

Leave to cool under a towel.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

After 15 minutes fill the pie, roll out the dough for the lid, place on top and crimp the edges. Make a hole in the centre of the lid.

Holding the sides of the greaseproof paper transfer the pie to a baking tray

Bake for two hours, glaze with a beaten egg wash, return to oven and bake at 160°C for an hour.

Heat the jelly stock, pour slowly into the hole in the centre of the pie lid, leave to cool.


Lamb Pie

Dough

  • 300 g pastry flour
  • 50 g strong white flour
  • 50 g white wheat flour
  • 50 g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 250 ml water
  • 125 g lard
  • 10 g salt

Filling

  • 500 g lamb, lean, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 60 ml stock, hot
  • 40 ml aspic jelly, heated
  • 30 g breadcrumbs
  • 10 g tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika, ground
  • Cinnamon, ground, large pinch
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • 8 cm pie tins x 8

Mix tamarind with stock, cinnamon, mustard and paprika.

Combine meat and onions, add breadcrumbs, tamarind-spice water. Season with nutmeg, pepper and salt.

Knead meat mixture until the fat starts to come off on the fingers.

Put the water into a saucepan, add lard and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat.

Sieve flours into a large bowl, add salt, form a well, pour lard liquid in and quickly stir with a spatula, bringing the ingredients together into a soft dough.

Quickly separate the dough into 75g pieces for the pie bottoms and 25g for the pie tops. Roll into balls.

Put a large ball in a tin. Using both thumbs push the dough evenly around the interior of the tin, with a little bit of overlap at the rim.

Fill three-quarters of the tin with the lamb mixture. Repeat until all the filling is used up.

Make 8cm diameter disks of the small balls.

Lay a disk on top of the filling and using a thumb and forefinger, press the disk into the dough to form a raised lip around the rim of the tin.

Reheat the stock.

Make two holes in the lid of each pie, pour a teaspoon of hot stock into each hole.


Pork Pie

Dough

  • 500 g flour
  • 190 g lard
  • 65 ml milk
  • 65 ml water
  • Salt, pinch
  • Milk, for glazing
Cranberry
Cranberries

Filling

  • 750 g pork pieces
  • 50 g cranberries
  • 25 g anchovies
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt, pinch
  • Water

Cover pork in water in a saucepan, simmer for an hour, strain, reserve jellied stock.

Combine milk and water, bring to a slow boil, add lard, allow to melt.

Mince anchovies into the pork, season.

Sieve flour and salt in a large bowl.

Pour lard liquid into flour, stir quickly with a spatula, form into a soft dough, knead for five minutes.

Quickly separate the dough into 75g pieces for the pie bottoms and 25g for the pie tops. Roll into balls.

Put a large ball in a tin. Using both thumbs push the dough evenly around the interior of the tin, with a little bit of overlap at the rim.

Fill three-quarters of the tin with the pork mixture. Repeat until all the filling is used up.

Make 8cm diameter disks of the small balls.

Lay a disk on top of the filling and using a thumb and forefinger, press the disk into the dough to form a raised lip around the rim of the tin.

Reheat the stock.

Make two holes in the lid of each pie, pour a teaspoon of hot stock into each hole.


FRESH FRICOT | THE FRONT PAGE