The ‘what will he cook this weekend’ debate started out innocuously enough with: “What makes for a ‘real pork pie?”. “It needs to be a hot water crust.” was my contribution. Friend A suggested “If there isn’t a boiled egg, it isn’t a real pork pie.” Friend B recoiled in horror at the suggestion. For my own part, memories of my Mum making individual pork pies (with an egg) for my Dad’s fishing forays into the western half of the country pretty well decided the issue. I found myself committed to cooking a pork pie.
Now, when I try things for the first time, I usually disguise my trepidation by going large. My first ever pork pie is no exception to this rule. So, instead of individual pork pies, I made one big man-sized pie with three boiled eggs. The pastry is identical to that used in my Chicken and Pancetta Pie cooked previously. To save you the trouble of jumping around the site, here’s the entire process for Man Size Pork Pie.
Ingredients for the pastry
- 110 grammes of lard
- 230 ml of water
- 580 grammes of plain flour
- An egg to paint on the top during cooking
- You will need to have an 8″ springform baking mould too.
Ingredients for the filling
- 750 grammes of pork shoulder
- 200 grammes of smoked bacon
- 200 grammes of pork fat
- 1 teaspoon of mace
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
- Sage and thyme to suit your tastes
- 3 eggs
To finish the pie off
- A small amount of highly concentrated chicken stock. Or you can use ordinary chicken stock and some gelatine.
Make the filling up first. Hard boil the eggs.
To get the right consistency, chop about half of the pork and half of the bacon into small pieces.
Roughly chop the rest and feed it, along with the fat, through a mincer with medium plate fitted.
Chop the sage and thyme.
Side note on sage and thyme: You nay have noted my being a little vague on quantities. This is because I used all the remaining sage and most of my thyme to get this done. If I had more, I would have used more.
Peel the eggs, being careful to remove all the shell.
Add the rest of the meat and other mix ingredients (not the eggs) to the minced meat. Mix them to combine.
Next, concentrate on making the pastry. At this stage, you should turn the oven on to 200º C (400º F). Get the saucepan out again. Add the water and lard.
Just before boiling point, add this mixture to the flour.
Mix the flour lard water mixture into a dough. You can do some of this with a big spoon but, you will have to scald your hands towards the end, if you want a good consistency. Like I say, MAN UP! this is a man pie. Cut a quarter off the pastry and wrap it in cling film. This will be the cover. Quickly mould the rest of the pastry into the springform mould. Get it as even as your clumsy man-hands will allow.
Add half the mixture to the pie. Then carefully and artistically (as artistically as manliness will allow) place the eggs in position.
Add the rest of the filling, packing it down to fill the pie. Roll out the lid and place it on top.
Crimp the man pie edges. You will be forgiven for making a clumsy edge. That’s the man-way. Don’t do anything fancy. We will not approve.
Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a breather hole. Then place the pie in the oven for half an hour. Turn the heat down to 170º C (340º F) and go away and sit in your garden shed (man cave) for an hour. Return, remove the pie and paint the crust with the beaten egg. Place the pie back in the oven and go back to what you were doing in the man cave for another half an hour. When you get back, the pie will be cooked to perfection.
Let the pie cool. Place it in the fridge overnight. Stick a funnel in the pie hole and pour in some highly concentrated chicken stock to fill in some of the gaps that occur in the cooking. Give this a couple of hours to set.
Serve the pie with some nice salad stuff. That will appease the non men amongst you. Reward yourself with a glass or two of wine while you are at it.
Man or no, I highly recommend that you give this man-sized pie a go. Delicious!