son of pork pie

My Lamb In Hay post from a couple of weeks back prompted a small amount of controversy, not least from one e-mail correspondent accusing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of being a reclusive, sherry-quaffing opium addict. And while my version of the dish wasn’t a complete success, I’m prepared to give Britain’s favourite Chef-in-need-of-a-haircut a second chance, for two reasons:

  1. His Meat cookbook, which I’ve been reading, comes wrapped in a clever wipe-clean binding. Why this is not common practice in culinary manuals, where a stray fleck of blackberry jus or an accident with the Bourguignon sauce can render the cover of the most expensive tome bin-worthy, I don’t know.
  2. I got really drunk with his literary agent once.

So there I was, wandering around the food hall at Selfridges, listening to NWA on my iPod, when it struck me. I would make a Pork Pie, combining one of Hugh’s more testing recipes with my own unceasing lust for the Pâté en croûte De Porc, as they probably don’t call it in France.

First up is the stock. I attempt to get some bones from my butcher of choice, a fine establishment run by Kent and Sons in St. John’s Wood, but apparently Tuesday is bone day, so I end up buying a fistful of pork ribs which I’ll have to eat in order to free up the scraps I need. Combined with leeks, onions and carrots, the stock is ready for cooking.

I let it simmer for a few hours, and begin to prepare the pie itself.

What is lard? Until proceeding with this project, I didn’t actually know. One quick Google later I discover that it’s an abbreviation of Laryngeal Reflux Disease, a manifestation of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease that occurs in the laryngeal region. This doesn’t sound quite right, but it’s required for the pastry, so into the mixing bowl it goes. Add some butter, a couple of beaten eggs, some salt and some water, and before you know it my 20cm high-sided springform is ready to accept its porky payload.

The meat itself is a mixture of finely chopped pork shoulder, minced pork belly and streaky bacon, combined with chopped sage and thyme leaves, ground mace, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Except that I’ve forgotten to buy some bay leaves, so my version doesn’t have one. And some cayenne pepper, which I do have, but forget to add. Oh dear. But it does look quite splendid as it waits for its pastry hat, as you can see below.

Carefully, I add the lid, manually crimping the edges. This task requires a great deal of patience, which I don’t really have, something which will come back to haunt me later on… but right now it’s ready to bake.

I start by baking the pie for 30 minutes at 180° before dropping the temperature to 160° for an hour and a quarter. At this point the point the pie is removed from the oven, glazed using a beaten egg, then returned to the heat for a final fifteen minutes. I retrieve the pie from the heat one final time and begin the most delicate part of the process, adding the stock I prepared earlier through a small hole cut in the top of the pie. What I don’t realise is that my lack of patience earlier in the procedure has caused a small tear to develop in the crust and, once the liquid has reached it certain level, it escapes through this fissure as fast as I’m able to add it. It’s too late to start again, so into the fridge it goes, cooling overnight. The next morning, it’s ready.

Wow. Would you look at that? It’s a pie of rare and tremendous beauty, if you ask me. To get an idea of the size of this beast, the picture below shows my creation alongside a copy of Hassidic New Wave’s avant-jazz-klezmer classic “Psycho Semitic”.

Finally, it’s time to eat. A couple of slices are carefully separated from the main body of the pie and rested on plates. After pacing up and down for a while I nervously raise a portion to my lips and take a bite. It’s delicious. The herby fragrance of the organic pork, nestling gently in a bed of ambrosial jellied stock, exquisitely wrapped in delicious pastry – it’s a sensation, if I do say so myself.

Result.

128 Comments

  1. Well done. Can you send me a slice?

  2. Cripes – that looks fantastic – I wish you lived nearer.

  3. First rate. I always imagined outside of an industrial environment pork pies would be a bitch to make, you make it look effortless. Like watching Torvill & Dean or Michael Schumacher.

  4. Looks luvverly. How long will it keep? Will you have to eat pork pie breakfast, lunch and supper every day for a week just to avoid wasting any? And if so, do you consider that to be a bad thing?

  5. It’ll keep for two weeks according to Mr Fearnley-Whittingstal, although it won’t last that long – people at work are already placing orders.

  6. What did you have with it, I always like a slice of crumbly white cheese (Cheshire, or Wensleydale, BUT NEVER, EVER, EVER LANCASHIRE!), and a bit of HP sauce.

  7. Just thought someone should comment that “porky payload” is possibly the best phrase ever.

    There, I just did.

  8. do you rent rooms with halfboard?
    pork & bed?

  9. I’m impressed. We’re having a barbie next month too…

  10. I work with you (well I did and I will again) and I would really like some too. It looks absolutely tremendous. I’ll be back in the office end of June(ish). Could do a deal on the old ‘most wanted’ playing cards for a large slice?

    Beautiful, keep up the good work.

  11. Sounds like a fair swap.

  12. Holy mother, that is surely the largest pie I have ever seen.

    Weebl will be knocking your door down toot sweet!

  13. “mmm… pie”

    Someone needed to say it!

  14. I think you should take up Charlotte’s offer of, and I quote “Pork and bed”, don’t tell me you’ll get a better offer this week ?

  15. I’m sure Charlotte’s suggestion was perfectly innocent.

  16. Mine’s not. Fraser, pork and bed? ;)

    Great pie!

  17. that is one big bad boy you have there!

  18. It’s at times like this I wish I still ate the meat of the swine… That looks awesome.

  19. ’tis truly a beast monster of 1920′s sea-going sci-fi proportions!! mmm portions…..

    if it was me though i would have topped it with a pigs snout, just to feel manly.

    ps. leave me a guestbook message if my web addt pops up…. ta!

  20. Num nums, i love the pork.

  21. Looks delicious and nutritious!

  22. Mmmmmmm Pie!
    Pie Is Goooood!
    Want Pie Now!

  23. You can also make a hole in the pork meat prior to cooking and slip in a hard boiled egg (shelled obviously)……scotch egg cum pork pie meaty deliciousness

  24. “scotch egg cum pork pie meaty deliciousness” – wouldnt that be a bit too salty?

  25. What, exactly, is wrong with being a reclusive, sherry quaffing opium addict? Sheesh, some people. Good pie that. Well done mate.

  26. Would you like another piece of my pie my lord?
    Such a dissapointment to a girl :-(

  27. Hmmmm, beef.

  28. You have made me utterly miserable.
    I’m sitting here in my office, alone and with no hope of any pie in the near future. That pie looks ridiculously tasty and, more importantly, quite without the worst part of any pork pie. Which as any pie afficianado knows is that awful jelly-like aspic stuff which makes one want to gag and throw the rest of the remaining delicacy into a pit of eternal flame.

    I’m so hungry…

  29. Thats mean..lookin’ at that pie makes me homesick..they are too stupid to make pies like that in Australia (more like too drunk!)

  30. SPLENDID WORK MY MAN ! YOU DO INDEED HAVE THE GIFT FOR PIE !!!

  31. Yummo! Surely you need to fashion a gigantic pot of delicious mustard.
    Well done our new King of Porcine Products.

  32. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! Pie…………………….

  33. Sigh, I haven’t had a good pork pie in well over 10 years. They don’t sell them like that here in the states. My mum makes them for my dad on occasion, and he has told me on many an occasion of their sheer excellence, but is it ever when I’m home for a visit? NOOOOOOO!! Yeah, they think I don’t see how they are…porkpie hoarding bastards.

  34. Your pie is awesome, and a delight! It looks really good. April

  35. I want a piece of that.

  36. Porky Pies, porky pies, is what the pie seller cry’s.
    Truly a king among pastry encrusted meat,
    Spoil your old woman, give her a treat.
    Stuff it in her mouth so she cant speak,
    The size of that pie, she will be quiet for a week.
    And you can go to the pub.

  37. There should be a book ” The lord of the Pies” as you are surely it.

  38. Bleedin’ lovely! You fucking star!

  39. A superior pie and no mistake! Is there a village fair – no bollocks to it, aim high – is there a NATIONAL contest for pie-makers? Enter and be damned, I say!

  40. Please make a horse pie next.

  41. Wobblier pies burp.
    The knickers grunt and pies fart.
    A sausage tumbles.

  42. Further to poomypoos idea….how about a giant scotch egg made with hard boiled ostrich egg?

  43. That is a fantastic idea. I shall do it.

  44. A LOVELY RECIPE INDEED BUT PEOPLE STATESIDE MIGHT GET A BIT CONFUSED AS TO THOSE TEMPERATURES.

  45. Our Pieman
    Who Aint from Devon,
    Hallow’ed be thy Pastry.
    Thy food has come
    From god’s own bum,
    And my, it sure looks tasty.

    Give me this day my slice of pie,
    And forgive me when I dribble,
    For thine is the porkiest pie I have e’er seen,
    All that meaty goodness,
    Amen.

  46. Simon 'Ramone' Hadfield

    Careful Kingspoon….

  47. My word. I’m a vegetarian and even I think it looks delicious!
    The filling itself looks a little like Haslet…

  48. I am stuck here in Indiana. On my bi-annual treks to Blighty, my first stop is to Waitrose for a Melton Mowbray. My cousin (who lives in Sheen) likes his with Branston pickle, I like a dollop of German mustard.

    I never thought of making my own – not too handy around the kitchen, but we do have pigs and spices here. hmmm.

  49. Wonderful….

    … but a pork pie next to a Jewish CD?

  50. Damnit I got almost to the bottom and ready to make the obvious I’m a veggie but I’d like some and found nought_0 had beat me to it.

    Darn.

    Any chance of a Porkless Pie in the near future?

    Vegetarian Lard anyone?

  51. Oh thanks, great, now my belly’s growling…..

  52. The dogs bollocks and no mistake. By the way, did the ‘porky payload’ contain pigs bollocks by any chance? Mmm animal genitalia pie…

  53. I’ve made the porkless pork-pie before, and it was not only that size, but I believe vegan as well. If I hadn’t used butter. Though you could use olive oil and margarine mixed if you had to do the full vegan thing.

    Note that I’m a confirmed omnivore and regularly devour many animals, but have developed recipes for vegetarian friends who can’t cook.

    For the pie filling: a layer of chopped onion, fried in butter till golden; a layer of parsnips, likewise chopped and fried golden; a layer of tiny brown crimini mushroom, likewise fried in butter; and finally a bunch of non-pretty old white mushrooms from the grocer’s bargain bin, cut up, cooked in butter, seasoned afterwards with Italian parsley, a pinch of fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, run through the blender to make what the French call “duxelles” and what I call something to pour over the mushrooms, parsnips and onions in place of gelatin. Then you put the top on the pie, put the springform in the oven and bake it.

    There. Something you can serve to vegetarians, but won’t mind having a slice of yourself.

  54. Now wait just a damn minute! You mean you folks over there cook shredded pork into a PIE? Are you out of apples or strawberries or even blueberries? Shredded pork is doused with a good vinegary, spicy, sweetish (but not overly) BAR-B-QUE sauce and then plopped in a mound on a bun that looks remarkably like it was designed to hold a hamburger (because that’s what it is). THE BAR-B-QUE “Pulled Pork” sandwich is among the world’s great gifts, from both the pig and from America. “Meat pie,” indeed! I’d be tossed outta Texas for teaming pastry with pork.

    On the other hand, your pie DOES look delish…

  55. Did you know there is a pork pie contest in Scarborough at christmas. You pay £1 to enter at the Leeds Arms and are supplied with a board to present your pie. If you fail to produce a pie you have to pay for a round of all attending the contest, It is a small pub but it is a popular competition! It is a mostly bloke thing!

  56. That pie looked very good I live in Aus & make a pretty mean pie. like you I have trouble with the crust leaking. Have you solved the problome. any other pork pie lovers/makers in aus email me bownsweld@supernerd.com.au
    regards bb

  57. Being a Yorkshirman and being brought up in an industrial City, I was raised on pork pies, hot and steamy straight from the butchers shop as he made them. Yours looks equally as good, well done

  58. Being in love with a Yorkshirman who was raised on Pork Pies, Im using this recipe to try to recreate the wonderful memories he has of them. Wish me luck!!

  59. Accrington Joe (exiled in Peckham)

    Fuckin ‘ell! Now that’s a pork pie.. Rest assured i shall be having a go at that.

  60. omg like pie is good

    anyways that must be hard to make yet delicious

  61. AlexanderDeLarge

    Any vegetarians drooling over this can get a, and I quote, ‘Porkless Pie’ from Holland and Barrett. They also do vegetarian scotch eggs, and bizarrely fishless fingers.

  62. Oh wow, I dont even like pork pies all that much! Why oh Why is my mouth watering so much? Looks so tasty

  63. As an expat in oz I can already feel my horizons expanding……..

    Rule Brittania!!

  64. Hartley’s Pork Pies of Somerset are the finest pork pies I have ever tasted. The other two shops cannot compare the mouth watering pies that are baked in Somerset. Try them all and you will taste the difference. I guarantee it!!!

  65. Wow, i love this website as nearly as much as i love pork pies. i am the fattest person in the world of pork pieness

  66. There’s “Growler’s Pub” nearby,
    and to there I sometimes fly,
    for a Scotch Egg or two
    to go with my brew,
    but alas, there is no PIE!

  67. Wow.. I’m a fat bastard and I couldn’t even eat that! Lololol!

  68. Good Sir, thine pie of the pork variety is most pleasing to the eye. Can you send me some on the post, please?

  69. My Lord, I hastily advise thou not to sendeth thine pie to Sir Michael of Gleave. He is a wicked and sinful man who doth have unpure thoughts about his cousins.

  70. Fat Sir, I hereby request that you withdraw your previous comment, as it most untrue and offensive. I am a far worthier recipient of a pie of such a nature than thee, so accept this and move on with thy life.

    To you, Sir Lardbottom, I say “Good day”.

  71. Well I never. Sir, I hath never been so horribly offended. The only thing thou shalt receive is a jolly good telling off. I hath staked my claim to this noble pie first, and thus, I am more worthy than thou.

  72. Morbidly obese Sir, you seem to be in two minds. One minute you doth type “lololol”, and the next thy dare to defile the Queen’s English with thine pitiful efforts, which run closer to an abomination against the language itself, than a plausible sentence.

    Clearly, I am a man of better character; an honest man from a righteous family and a noble background. The pie is mine.

  73. Is my Janus-faced character a problem to you, my good man? My ability to assume the persona of a more unintelligant man worked so well, that even you were fooled by my efforts. This is your loss, and my gain.

    Oh Pie-Master, I yearn for your wisdom. Share with me your secrets, to me the pie should be sent, not this damned and villainous knave!

  74. Good keeper of the pie, I beseech thee to ignore this treacherous vagaband; he is a liar and a thief. This man has pies a plenty, he stole them from ladies and upset the gentry. Like Sherlock Holmes it’s elementary; he’s the modern-day menace of the twentieth century.

  75. Oh Pie-Master, do not believe this villain’s lies and slander! I have caught him in the seedy back-street pie houses of old London town, gorging on the meaty delicacies with utter contempt for his poor family. Emptying his pockets of stolen shillings to sate his hunger, while his poor children starve.

    Need I mention that he’s a gentleman thief, a scholar, and a rogue. And is often caught doing the locomotion like Kylie Minogue.

  76. It is quite true that I visit the vast multitude of pie shops in old London town, where I do feast upon the pie of pork, but it is an untruth to say that I have a family. I do not have wife, or children, merely a vast number of bored housewives with whom I share a sexual relationship and nothing more. It is true that I require many shillings to alleviate my voracity, but I do not do this with stolen shillings, nay, mine shillings are my own.

    And for the record, I do do the locomotion like Kylie Minogue, and I’m also identified is “Spring-Heeled Jack”.

  77. Oh what lies! The lies of a man so villanious that he would steal a pie from the hands of a young orphan child! I have seen this very occurance take place countless times along the muddy banks of the Thames.

    I advise you to stay well away from this man. If he’s eating a pie, beware of his gaze. He looks a bit like the bloke from the Crystal Maze.

  78. I cannot tell a lie, but you, Sir, are a man of questionable morals. I have it on good authority that you spent the entire year of 1983 eating cola cubes and watching Grange Hill, before riding your chopper to the Chip shop in Pill. Does this paint the portrait of a man worthy of a pie so great? I fear that it does not, which is why I implore that you send yonder pie in mine direction.

  79. How dare you bring up these shocking allegations against me. Why, back in 1983 you were seven, I was eight. I’d only just started to masterbate. Even back then I had a love for the pie, an insatiable hunger that turned into a sexual desire. They made a film based on some of these events from my life, about a boy who has sex with a pie. But I digress.

    Despite my yearning for pies, I have always been a man of good morals, and have never had intercourse with a cousin, unlike my reprehensible colleague.

  80. You seem to insist upon repeating your belief that I had intercourse with my cousin; whilst forgetting that you dated a creature more beast than woman, more man than beast and not a woman at all, it was declared to be “gross homosexual bestiality” by the courts, was it not?

    To make it clear, when I was 7, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink booze, I collected Star Wars stickers and bubble gum tattoos and I didn’t know words like cunny or vag, but I ded get my 200 metres swimming badge.

  81. You are my brother! Here’s the story; I live in Texas, fell in love with a man from Bromsgrove, England and of course, pork pies. A couple of years ago I was seriously craving pork pie for Christmas. I didn’t have a pork pie tin, so I pulled out my biggest spring form pan and went to town! Needless to say, my English relatives were most impressed with my Texas sized pork pie. Tasted pretty good, too.
    Last year while visiting family in Bromsgrove I bought the “proper” size tin. This year I also bought “mini” cheese cake forms to make what I will call “one bite wonders”. Since I especially love the crust, I’m really looking forward to those itsy bitsy pork pies. And, you know, after looking at your pie, I think that I will have to make my pork pie grande part of my holiday tradition.
    Cheers!

  82. BEWARE THE PORK PIE!!!

    It’ll give you a fat bum!!!

  83. ill give u a fat bum lololololololololol

  84. hahaha ha, ha – Gud 1 baddly

  85. lolz i r teh chinky!!!!11!!!1!!!2!

  86. Come on then ya woman!

  87. Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic! Tenchi Muyo! Sonic!

  88. That’s a very good point Gary.

    Would you agree, Mr. Lloyd?

  89. No.

    (The script originally called for a “Yes”, but I felt that this was more appropriate…)

  90. Well done, Mr. Lloyd. Now get down and wrap those lips around my balls. Haha, just kidding Matthew.

    Oi, you two! Stop groping Mr. Gleave.

  91. But he asked me to, Sir.

  92. No I didn’t!

  93. Yes you did, you sexual beast, you!

  94. Stop calling me that! God damn, I hate people with any ginger hair.

  95. But you have ginger hair…

  96. Oh fuck.. I do.

    Fuck me.. I’m really quite rubbish.

  97. Yes. You’ve also got big eyes.

  98. Why don’t you go home and listen to your Linkin Park CD, hmmm? That always cheers you up, right Mr. Ginge McBigEyes?

  99. Sometimes I think I am the only person that listens to the lyrics deeply. I think other people do too.

    Linkin Parkz rulez

  100. *jumps out of a bush*

    Touch my cock or I’ll kill you.

  101. With pleasure sir!

  102. Swannee AKA Random Man

    Alright then… Lemme go find me magnifying glass an’ tweezers…

  103. Thy jungle of pubis, conceals a cock so fair. Bravo.

  104. Even as basking babe, then happy boy alone by some morning wood, thy touching-distant penis enough,
    Or man matured, or young or old, as now to thee I launch my ejaculation.

  105. Beth the head of the pork pie appreciation society

    hi this is beth the pork pie again ! Katherine,chloe,Fleur and Lauren rule and I am a loser pork pie eater!

  106. Did you forget the aspic jelly? Surely if you just added stock, the inside would go all liquidy and the pastry shell would be spoilt?

    Please clarify.

    Best wishes, Stella

  107. There’s gelatine in the stock from the bones used – this helps the jelly set. Ideally you’d use a trotter in the stock, and they complain plenty of gelatine.

  108. Since moving to the USA I have found it hard to live a nomal life without pork pie.

    If you could send me the recipe for this most wonderful of English delights
    I would forever be in pie heaven.

  109. That is quite possibly the most magnificent pork pie I have ever seen. Bravo.
    Can you quanitfy your recipe by any chance. I have a weekend coming up and there’s only one thing on my mind…Ta.

  110. well , feel happy for u to get this nice result

    but to be honest , i am not really surprised by the size of it just the traditional pork pie from the old english culture coz ive seen it on travel d livin channel before

    maybe show it to those old british ppl , they will be happy that someone takes back the old good time to them , wot about provoke a new revolution eh ?

  111. Ab Fab !!

  112. Hello, I just came across this and it looks awesome. I live in Milwaukee, USA (just moved here from Nebraska) and have just been introduced to Pasties. I love them and now make them at home. Having seen your Pork Pie I am going to try making a Pork Pie. Your looks so incredibly good. From what I read you eat it cold or room temperature? Is there a sauce or something to go with it? The baking temp. seems a little low. I guess it must be metric

    • 1) Yes, you eat it cold
      2) I guess if you were going to do it properly, you’d serve it with English mustard, some pickles, and a light green salad.
      3) 180° UK is about 350° US

  113. I’d been idly wondering if the 20cm spring-bottomed cake tin I bought could be used for a scaled-up pork pie. A search brought me here.

    You have created a pie of rare majesty, which both provides and provokes.

    My salutations.

  114. Major Alexander Bridgefield

    I Made this…And by Jove it’s bloody marvelous, a true cholesterol packed feast in the form of a Pie

    Ever thought about ‘Jugged Pig’, Never been brave enough to take that one on thou

    Congratulations

  115. I’ve been interested in pork pie ever since I was required to read “Great Manifestations” by Dickens. Pip’s criminal father asks him to bring some food to him. Pip steals a pork pie from his mother’s kitchen. What, I wondered, was a “pork pie?” I’m thinking, this is it.

  116. You are truely a Savoury Maverick, pushing the boundries, raising the bar.

  117. I love this post. I nearly wet myself reading the definition of lard. I love the follow-ups, but most of all I LOVE THE PIE! I’m going to make one as soon as Amazon delivers the HFW meat book.

  118. I left england 32 years ago and still mis my pork pies , here in nz they are terible . people eat them warm here they are gastly i will try your pie .it lookes wonderfull valerie nz

  119. nom nom nom

  120. Sounds good May try to reduce the size to normal pork pie size and make several. otherwise would eat the lot at once.

  121. Sounds Very good . Will try to make normal size Yorkshire pork pie with recipe. Otherwise would try to eat the lot at once.I used to live in Bradford ,Yorkshire and the best pork pies I had was Munzes. A german pork butcher. regards, Gerry.

  122. Terry Washington State

    By jove that looks a lovely pie!! Being an expat and missing the food of blighty, I recently found a place to order them from in New York: english pork pie company . com. They are extremely good. However, pricey and overnight or 2nd day airship costs as much as the pies even with quantity. I just stocked my freezer with some. Since it was so dear, this article has inspired me to attempt to bake this myself. Wish me luck, a lot of luck.

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