Last week I finally realized that the heat wave wasn’t going away because it is actually summer and it is supposed to be hot. I am a winter person who would be happy if it never went above 72 degrees.
Wednesday night I pulled open my freezer drawer and looked around. I found a package of frozen ground pork. Hmm… what to do with this? Meatloaf? nah – I have one frozen – ready to go. Another time.
I looked in the fridge. I have 1 roll of pie crust, having used the other one for a Quiche a while back. I had some mushrooms. Onions.
I see a plan for Thursday night’s dinner coming together.
Pork Pie! Now there is one you don’t see too often on the family menu and certainly not in mid-July! But why not! Besides there was nothing else calling out to me and I am all burger’d and dog’ed out for the moment.
Meat pies have a long culinary history. Many countries have versions. (You can google that!) but here is an interesting tidbit I found that will save you the trouble…
The first pies, called “coffins” or “coffyns” (the word actually meant a basket or box) were savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry (no tops or lids) were known as “traps.” These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible). These crusts were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking.
Okay who would want to eat that pie!
What separates a Canadian pork pie from any old meat pie?
Cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Most recipes involve some amount of at least 2 of those. Without those spices you would just have a very plain meat loaf trapped in a pie!
My Aunt Yvonne and my “Aunt” Lucille all had recipes. More recently, I have been soliciting recipes for a family cookbook and I received a pork pie recipe to add in. From poking around my family, other people’s families and the internet I learned there are many variations. (Obviously right?) Most were made with pork, some with beef and some with a combo. All “stretch” the meat by adding either cooked/mashed potato or breadcrumbs. All variations I have seen are double crust.
The Recipe: Here is how I made Thursday’s cabinet stew….
1 1/4 lb ground pork, 1 med onion chopped, 1 tb unsalted butter, 4 ounces button mushrooms rough chopped, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 nutmeg, ( I didn’t have any allspice that I could find at least) 2 tb Worcestershire sauce, 3 potatoes boiled and mashed, salt and pepper to taste. One pre-made pie crust – rolled and inserted into a glass 9″ pie plate.
“Dock” the crust and pre-bake it 8 mins in a hot 425 degree oven. Take crust out and turn down oven to 375 degrees. Add butter, onion and mushrooms to saute pan. Brown on med-high heat for about 4-5 mins. Add the spices and let them kinda “toast” for a minute in the high heat of the pan mixed in with the onions and mushrooms. Add the pork and finish browning everything together. Pork these days is very lean so you won’t need to “drain any grease off” – but if you feel you must, then go ahead and do it now. Don’t overcook. Meaning the pork should be brown but not dry; as you are going to bake it again in the oven anyway. Add Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and add to the partially baked crust bottom.
Normally you would add in the cooked, mashed plain potatoes before putting mix in the bottom crust but I didn’t have a top crust so I decided to make the mashed potato the topping – Shepard’s pie style! I used 3 potatoes because I wanted a nice fluffy top – if you were doing a crust top then just mash in 1-2 medium cooked potatoes to the meat mix before filling the crust.
Sprinkle plenty of paprika on top and dot with butter. I also mixed in a tiny bit of Lawry’s seasoned salt into the mashed potatoes because I can’t leave well enough alone.
Bake 30 mins – cool slightly before serving. Nice with green salad or vegetables such as brussels sprouts. All the pork pie I have eaten was served with gravy.
Also note: this can absolutely be made with ground beef!