A cold meat pie

It was my first holiday in Europe. I was by myself, I had just landed at the airport in Geneva, I was thinking of the conference I was going to attend and the vacation that was to follow with my then-fiancée-and-now-wife. Just before I took the train from the station attached to the airport, I walked inside a small pâtisserie to eat. After spending a good amount of time just watching what was on display I walked away with a small savory pie with a bottom crust, a top crust and a small hole in the middle, all neatly tucked away in a brown paper bag. As the train pulled out of the station and began running along a lake, I pulled out a tray, and setup to eat the pie with much anticipation. I remember the slightly cold meat and pastry, and the jelly that tasted a bit like meat. It was an unfamiliar combination of familiar flavors.

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Here is a simple method to make a cold pork pie:

Minced pork

Pork bones (including knuckle and feet)

Pastry

Seasoning

Make pork stock using the bones. Strain and reduce the stock in volume. As the reduced stock comes to room temperature, roll out pastry to line a pie ring, fill with the raw seasoned minced pork, cover the top with another layer of pastry, seal the edges and refrigerate for an hour or so. Cut a hole in the center of the top crust, brush the top with egg wash, and bake in a 350˚F oven for about an hour and a half or until the meat is cooked and the pastry is golden brown. Once the pie cools down, pour the room temperature stock reduction into the pie through the hole on the top. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight to help the pork stock form a gel. Rest the pie at room temperature for about an hour before serving.

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Eating cold meat, and in particular eating it with cold bone-derived jelly encased in cold pastry does not seem common. But this is a traditional British dish, and it appears to have been so for centuries, along with the analogous French pâté en croûte (meat paté encased in crust). Made the traditional way, it seems to have been designed for transport over short distances, for a picnic perhaps, or for a train ride about to get a vacation started.

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8 thoughts on “A cold meat pie

  1. Bala

    Facebook comment from reader, Sachin Sankar:

    I good pie 🍰 is a work of art and the king of the pork pies is the Melton Mowbray pie with just a very sutle hint of spice and perfect jelly. Probably brought to Britain by the Romans who by the way never ate pasta

    Reply
    1. Bala

      I did read about the Melton Mowbray pie. They also seem to be made differently than most pies, not to mention their "Protected Geographical Indication". I will look forward to tasting one sometime. I agree about the history, there is an ancient Roman cookbook dated 4CE to 5CE that talks about pies. Now, I wonder if you tasted the pies at the Hampton Court kitchen.

      Reply
      1. Bala

        Facebook comment from Sachin Sankar:

        I have and been to a cooking demonstration I could not believe milk sweetened by onions 3 different kinds of pepper it was a revelation

        Reply
  2. Reva Pershad

    Always having a weakness for pies, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the cold pork pie with the cold jelly. You not only chanced upon it & enjoyed it but you also shared the recipe along with the beautiful shots & interesting history. Will try it out Bala, & see how the palate reacts to the novel taste.

    Reply
    1. Bala

      Mrs. Pershad,

      It is very nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind comment. I'm curious what you will think of the taste of this pie.

      Bala

      Reply

I look forward to reading your thoughts...