Pork pie recipes including how to make the Melton Mowbray pork pie.

pork pie
The pork pie is a classic English savoury pie that dates back to the medieval ages. It is different from most pies in that it is usually made with hot-water crust pastry, which must be made with warm ingredients that shouldn't be allowed to cool.

The most famous pork pie is the Melton Mowbray pie, which is now a protected regional product. Any pork pie commercially produced outside of a designated region surrounding the village of Melton in Mowbray, north Leicester, may not use the Melton Mowbray name or be associated with it in any way.

For the best results prepare the meat filling and refrigerate overnight, add to the pastry shell the following day and bake in the oven. Then add the stock and refrigerate overnight a second time before eating. Obviously this is extremely time-consuming and therefore other recipes have been created that don't require so much preparation time.
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Generally fresh pork is used to make the filling, which is a grey colour and not pink like cured or cooked pork. Most recipes call for pork shoulder, which can be minced, diced or finely chopped. Bacon is also often added for its colour and its flavour. The meat is seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh sage.

The jelly is made from a stock which you can make yourself by boiling pork bones, pig's trotters or knuckles of veal, carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns and a bouquet garni. You can also use the carcass of a chicken or if you want to save time, you can use chicken stock made from a stock cube.

The stock is poured into the pie when it is removed from the oven and then allowed to cool. It is this cooling that turns the stock into the famous jelly that surrounds the meat in a pork pie.

The reason for using a hot-water crust pastry is that this type of pastry stays crisp and firm on the outside, yet becomes soft and crumbly on the inside due to absorbing all of the lovely juices from the filling and the stock, keeping it moist in the process.

Below are two recipes for pork pie including the infamous Melton Mowbray pork pie.

Simple Raised Pork Pie Recipe

Ingredients
  • For the filling
  • 700g (1lb) of diced pie pork
  • 450ml (15fl oz) of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • For the pastry
  • 340g (12oz) of plain flour
  • 115g (4oz) of lard
  • 4 tbsp of milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 beaten egg
Method
  1. Place the meat in a large saucepan and pour in the chicken stock covering the meat. Simmer for about an hour or until the pork is tender.
  2. Drain the meat from the liquid, allow to cool and then refrigerate.
  3. Bring the stock to the boil and boil away until 300ml ( pint) is left. Allow the stock to cool.
  4. To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt.
  5. In a saucepan melt the lard and add the milk and 4 tbsp of cold water.
  6. Bring to the boil stirring continuously.
  7. Remove from the heat and add the lard mixture to the flour. Stir quickly until a dough has formed. Allow the dough to cool slightly.
  8. When the dough is just cool enough to handle, knead until it is smooth, adding boiling water if the dough is stiff.
  9. Remove a third of the dough for the lid and set aside in a warm place.
  10. Roll the dough out and then mould it around the bottom and sides of a jam jar, which you should flour first to stop the pastry sticking.
  11. Leave the pastry in place for about 10 minutes to allow it to set and then carefully remove the jar, ensuring that the pastry stays in shape.
  12. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).
  13. Season the cooked pork and mix together with the parsley and 2 tbsp of water.
  14. Fill the pastry shells with the pork mixture leaving a gap at the top.
  15. Roll out the pastry for the lid and moisten the edge of the pie with water.
  16. Place the lid on top and press the two edges together so the pie seals.
  17. Make a hole in the top of the pie.
  18. Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  19. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes before reducing the temperature to 180C (350F) and cooking for another hour.
  20. Remove the pie or pies from the oven and allow to cool.
  21. Pour the stock into the pie through the hole at the top of the pastry and leave the pie for several hours or even in the refrigerator overnight before eating.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Recipe

Ingredients
  • For the hot-water crust pastry
  • 450g (1lb) of plain flour
  • 200ml (7fl oz ) of water
  • 170g (6oz) of lard
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • For the jellied stock
  • bones from the meat used to make the filling or a chicken carcass
  • a knuckle of veal or 2 split pig's trotters
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped celery sticks
  • 2 onions, halved
  • peppercorns
  • a bouquet garni
  • For the filling
  • 900g (2lb) of boned shoulder of pork, half minced and half diced
  • 225g (8oz) of lean smoked back bacon, half minced and half chopped
  • 2 tbsp of freshly chopped sage
  • 1 tsp of anchovy essence
  • tsp each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Place the pork and bacon into a large bowl and mix together with the sage, spices, seasoning and anchovy essence.
  2. Prepare the jellied stock by placing all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and bringing to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 3 hours.
  4. Strain the stock and boil down until there is 425ml (15fl oz) left.
  5. Prepare the pastry according to the pastry instructions in the previous recipe.
  6. Fill the prepared pastry shells with the meat, leaving room for the stock.
  7. Add the pastry lid, making a small hole in the top. Brush with the beaten egg.
  8. Place the pie or pies into a preheated oven set at 200C (400F) and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Reduce the temperature to 170C (325F) and cook for a further hour (if small) or 2 hours (if large).
  10. Remove from the oven and pour the stock into the pie through the hole at the top using a funnel.
  11. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight before eating.
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