Have you ever had Pork Pie?
I first tried one on a trip to England over 20 years ago. My husband and I visited a small village shop and picked up the fixings for a picnic. Cheese, rustic bread, and some pork pies. We sat on a green across from the thatched cottage that had belonged to his grandmother and enjoyed our lunch. It’s a lovely memory…and the pork pies were fantastic.
We live in New England and pork pies show up regularly at local farmers’ markets. My husband really enjoys them, so I saw this recipe and decided that I had to take a stab at making some at home.
Today’s pork pie recipe is very straightforward and yields deliciously moist pies in a tender crust. Ritz crackers are apparently the secret ingredient to the filling. They add richness and a punch of buttery flavor. The finishing touch is a thick beef gravy poured into the vent hole before serving.
New England Pork Pies
Ingredients for dough:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup sour cream
1 egg, plus 1 lightly beaten egg for brushing
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for filling:
22 Ritz Crackers
1½ pounds ground pork
1¼ teaspoons salt
1¼ teaspoons pepper
Ingredients for gravy:
1½ cups beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. To make the dough, whisk melted butter, sour cream, and 1 egg in bowl until combined. Process flour and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter mixture and pulse until dough forms, about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Turn out dough onto counter and form into a 4-inch disk. Wrap disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. (If chilling longer than 30 minutes, allow dough to soften on counter for 30 minutes before rolling.)
2. To make the filling, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400℉. In a food processor, process crackers until finely ground, about 20 seconds. Combine pork, salt, pepper, and cracker crumbs in a bowl and knead until fully combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Using 1/3 cup dry measuring cup, portion out 6 pieces of dough (3 1/2 ounces each). Set pieces of dough aside and cover with plastic. Roll remaining dough into 11-inch circle on well-floured work surface. Using an inverted 6 or 7-ounce ramekin as guide, cut 6 circles for tops of pies, rerolling scraps if necessary. Set tops aside and cover with plastic.
4. Spray six (6 or 7-ounce) ramekins (measuring 3 1/2 inches wide and about 2 inches deep) with cooking spray. Roll each 1/3-cup dough portion into 7-inch circle on well-floured counter. Line ramekins with 7-inch dough circles, letting excess dough hang over rims. Press dough along insides of ramekins as best as possible and try to flatten to even out thickness.
5. Divide filling among dough-lined ramekins (about 1/2 cup each). Place reserved dough circles over filling. Roll overhanging bottom dough inward and crimp together with top dough. (I found it difficult to get them to look as pretty as they are in Cook’s Country Magazine, but I was happy enough with my pies’ rustic appearance).
6. Brush tops of pies with beaten egg. Use a paring knife to poke hole in center of each pie to create a 1/2-inch-wide vent.
7. Place ramekins on parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tops of pies are deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let pies cool for 10 minutes.
8. To make the gravy, whisk broth and cornstarch in small saucepan until cornstarch is dissolved. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
9. Lift pies out of ramekins, loosening edges with paring knife if necessary (do not invert the pies and be careful since the juices inside are very hot). If vent holes have shrunk during baking, widen with paring knife so gravy can be poured in. Pour gravy into vent hole of each pie until pie is filled (there will be gravy left over for serving). Let pies cool for 10 minutes. Serve, passing remaining gravy separately.
Note: To make ahead: At end of step 6, poke vent holes in pies but do not brush with egg. Wrap pies tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, do not thaw pies. Unwrap frozen pies and proceed with step 6, extending baking time to about 1 1/4 hours.
Recipe from Cook’s Country Magazine
The perfect side dish is a classic Irish colcannon….just in time for St Patrick’s Day. This version shines with its finishing drizzle of melted butter and sprinkling of bacon. Over the top good.
1 medium head cabbage (about 2 pounds), shredded
4 pounds medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups whole milk
1 cup chopped green onions
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
Minced fresh parsley
Crumbled cooked bacon
1. Place cabbage and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Keep cabbage warm.
2. In the same pan, combine potatoes and reserved cooking liquid. Add additional water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place milk, green onions, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil then remove from heat.
4. Drain potatoes. Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash. Add milk mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in cabbage.
5. To serve, drizzle colcannon with butter then top with parsley and bacon.
Recipe from Taste of Home
I think that Cornwall bred now London-based band ENNOR might fancy some pork pies after a long journey back from Atlantis. This catchy, folksy song is the perfect springboard into our week.
Check out ENNOR on Facebook where you can keep tuned on where to buy their music.