If you’re a vegan or vegetarian you might want to skip this post as it’s full of meat. Pork, that is. I did jokingly tell TheBrit the other day that if the cost of meat keeps going up we might have to consider going vegetarian. He was not amused.
This is obviously not a food blog. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about food before. Cooking is something I do to relax. I love to cook! Mostly I make homey, comfort foods. I can do what TheBrit calls poncy food (that’s frufru for all you Americans out there), but that ain’t really my thing. Yes, I said ain’t. Sue me.
Anyway TheBrit has been here in the U.S. since July of 2012 and there are some things from Merry Old England he kind of misses. Pasties, the bread (he says our mass produced stuff is crap), British Ales, and pork pie. Apparently pork pies are a British staple. It’s not something we do here. We can’t just go in the local grocery store and buy pork pies.
I’ve tried my hand at a few things, like Giraffe Bread. It turned out pretty good but rice flour is a little hard to get here. There’s only one grocery store I’ve found that carries it and they bloody think it’s gold. I do buy the fresh baked breads in the bakery at the local shop but still those are no comparison to English granary breads.
I attempted, shortly after his arrival in the States, to make a proper pork pie. His mother sent me a recipe. In British – I mean, Imperial weights and measures. It’s probably better to weigh things like flour in grams and have liquids measured in mls. But…well…I’m American!!!! We do cups and ounces. And, yes, it probably would have been advisable to do the conversions prior to starting but that would have been just too easy. So I did it as I went along. Needless to say it was a disaster.
First of all I attempted, without even knowing what a pork pie should even look like or taste like, to make hand raised pork pies. By the time I got done playing with the dough I’d made it was way overworked and was never going to work for hand raised pies. The pie I made, after dutifully watching a youtube video showing me how to do it in a springform pan, was well short of the mark. 😦
TheBrit ate it. Afterall he was somewhat obligated after all the trouble I went to.
I did order TheBrit a care package last Christmas from The English Pork Pie Company which included some Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Traditional Pork Pies, a few pasties, and some Scotch Eggs. I don’t think I tasted any of it. He used them for work lunches and it didn’t take long for them to disappear. While he said he enjoyed them(evidenced by said disappearance), he also said they lost a little something having been frozen. That coupled with the fact that it cost me nearly as much to have them shipped as it did to buy them made them cost prohibitive.
After all this time, and after a day of vigorous activity, TheBrit sighed and said, “I need a pork pie.” So I Googled up Traditional Pork Pie recipes. I found quite a few and the result was a combination of about three recipes. I decided to surprise him with another attempt. It’s the thought that counts, right?
I went to the grocery store armed with my shopping list. The pork shoulder which the recipe called for was very expensive and I ended up with a less expensive pork loin. The fresh back bacon was nowhere to be found. All we have in our local market is smoked bacon. Pancetta may have worked but I couldn’t find that either so bacon was eliminated from the recipe. There were no fresh pig trotters(feet) either – only smoked. I found some pork neck bones that hadn’t been smoked so I bought those.
I half expected this to turn out disastrous again since I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants and changing the ingredients. Undeterred, however, I put together what I am now going to call Traditional South Georgia Pork Pies.
Here’s how they looked after all my hard work:
In walks TheBrit from a hard day at work and exclaims, “Proper pork pies!” He devoured three of them for his “tea” and left a couple for a snack the next day. They turned out not too bad if I do say so myself. I’ve never tasted pork pie so I thought they were pretty good. TheBrit says they were the best ones he’s ever eaten. He said, “I could never get that in England.”