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.
Here is a simple method to make a cold pork pie:
Pork bones (including knuckle and feet)
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.
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.