The magnificence of Melton Mowbray Pork Pie is legendary. Its irregular crust, natural flavors and great convenience make it a wonderful meal for lunch or dinner. Exceptional for entertaining, too.
A thin slice of this tasty pie is served, usually with a chutney or fruit relish on the side. The crust is left uneaten. In fact, the pies were usually made rather small to be included in the lunch boxes of workers. The crust works to preserve and protect the inside, keeping it fresh. Pies like these were often taken by workers into mines, or out into the fields for their short meal breaks. Today, they’re considered a delicacy, and shipped all over the world from the rural town for which they’re named. Simply delicious!
Despite the crust, the pork pie is a high-protein meal. The removal of the uneaten crust leaves little more than protein-rich meat and aspic to consume. Workers were rarely tired after eating these pies. Normally, the pies were wrapped in brown butcher’s paper and tied with kitchen string – a marvelous way to serve them even today.
- 2 pounds diced pork shoulder meat, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage or 2 to 3 leaves
- 1 pinch each of dry mustard and allspice
- pork and veal bones
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 or 3 sprigs of marjoram and thyme
- 8 ounces lard (don't worry about this)
- 1 pound flour
- 2/3 Cup milk mixed half and half with water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Mix the meat, salt, pepper, herbs and spices and set aside.
- To make the stock, boil bones, onions, bay leaf, herbs salt and pepper in 4 cups of water for two hours or until the liquid is reduced to 2 1/3 cups. Cool, degrease and refrigerate until it starts to jell.
- To make the pastry, rub 2 ounces of the lard into the flour mixed with a teaspoon of salt until it is the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Boil the rest of the lard with the milk and water.
- Make a well in the mound of flour and while stirring with a wooden spoon, mix in the boiling liquid.
- Knead and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- To make the casing or "coffyn", roll out three-quarters of the dough into a circle 3/4-inch thick. Flour the outside of the tin and stand it in the centre of the dough. Work the dough up the sides of the tin and then gently remove the tin leaving you with a pie casing.
- Fill it immediately with the meat mixture as it is likely to collapse.
- Roll out the remaining dough into a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the casing, to form the lid.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Dampen the top edge of the pie and gently press on the lid. Crimp the edge. Make a hole in the center of the lid and decorate it with pastry leaves.
- Place on a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for 1 3/4 hours. If necessary place some aluminum foil on the top to prevent burning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Pour the chilled stock through the hole in the lid and refrigerate. Serve cold.
Generally, the crust is not eaten and is simply a shell to contain and preserve the meat in the baking. This is why you don't have to worry about the use of lard.
Don't worry if the color of the meat inside the pie is grey in colour. That's normal.