Pork pies


  • Serves 8 people

  • 1 pork hock (about 1.4kg)
  • 2 pig trotters (about 650gm each)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 300 gm coarsely minced pork
  • Pinch of ground mace
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • To serve: cornichons and hot English mustard (optional)
  • Green bacon
  • 200 gm sea salt
  • 200 gm brown sugar
  • 300 gm piece pork belly, skin removed
  • Suet crust
  • 875 gm plain flour
  • 435 gm chilled suet, coarsely grated
  • 25 gm fine salt
01   For green bacon, stir salt and sugar in a bowl to combine. Scatter half in a non-reactive container, top with pork, rub with remaining salt mixture, cover and refrigerate to cure (3 days). Rinse under cold water, pat dry with absorbent paper, cut into 5mm dice and refrigerate until required.
02   Bring hock, trotters, onion, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and enough water to cover generously to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until meat falls from the bone (2½-3 hours). Remove hock and trotters and set aside. Strain liquid, transfer 1 litre to a clean pan (discard solids and remaining liquid), skim fat, boil until reduced to 500ml (20-25 minutes) and set aside.
03   Coarsely shred meat (discard skin, fat, bones and sinew), coarsely chop, combine with bacon, minced pork, mace and 1½ tsp salt and refrigerate until required.
04   Preheat oven to 180C. For suet crust, combine flour, suet and salt in a large bowl, add 550ml boiling water, stir with a wooden spoon, then mix with your hands to form a dough.
05   Roll out pastry on a floured surface to 8mm thick and cut into eight 18cm-diameter rounds. Cut a wedge-shaped quarter from each round (reserve scraps), then line eight 7cm-diameter, 6cm-high pastry rings placed on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Press to even out folds and seal joins, then trim to leave a small overhang. Fill with pork mixture, press lightly to fill, then brush pastry edges with water. Re-roll pastry scraps, cut out eight 8cm-diameter rounds and cut a 1cm-diameter circle in centre of each. Place a pastry round on each pie, press edges with a fork to seal, brush with beaten egg, trim edges and bake until golden and cooked through (40-50 minutes).
06   Warm reserved pork stock in a saucepan over medium heat. Push a funnel into hole in top of a pie, then slowly pour in stock, letting it settle before adding more. Repeat with remaining pies and stock (you may not need all the stock). Stand at room temperature until stock sets (2½-3 hours) and serve with cornichons and hot English mustard.

Note Lining deep ring moulds with pastry can be a bit fiddly. The best way to make sure you don't have too much excess pastry to deal with is to cut out rounds of pastry, then cut a wedge-shaped quarter from each round (imagine you're cutting a quarter of a pizza). When you line the rings, bring the straight edges of the pastry together to form a cone, place the point of the cone into the ring, and press the pastry against the sides of the ring and into the base. Make sure the joins are well sealed. It might sound complicated, but once you start it will all become clear. You'll need to begin this recipe three days ahead.

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