While in college, our oldest son, Josh, was a musical theater major, and the favorite character he ever played was Sweeney Todd. And, as you might expect, since we started grinding meats for Charcutepalooza there have been many references in our house to the play, and the music, and even Johnny Depp has come up a couple of times... but I digress.
Now, to have the opportunity to make a meat pie! I could almost feel the whoosh of the bodies sliding down to Sweeney's basement for grinding!
After culling cookbooks and web, I decided to use the English Pork Pie recipe in Charcuterie which was also published in a holiday issue of O Magazine, with a small change. Rather than using ham I used pork belly along with the pork shoulder, hoping that the fat in the pork belly would give a moist and flavorful meat.
Above are the two meats after running them through the Cuisinart- there was a huge difference in the amount of fat in the two cuts.
And then the pastry- an amazingly high fat to flour ratio- almost twice the amount of fat that I use for my Pate Brisee' for Thanksgiving pies! It made a very sturdy but workable dough- after chilling for an hour, it rolled out well. Note- the recipe did not call for any salt in the dough, but I think I would add some if I made this again.
Ready to go into the oven, my meat pie was gloriously beautiful! I know I was pushing it with the Fall leaves, but only by a week.... and they went well with my idea for an accompaniment:
A spicy, tart and chunky Apple Chutney inspired by Pork and Cider Pie recipes I had seen while looking for guidance. It came together quickly while the Pork Pie baked in the oven.
4 medium apples, cored and diced
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, minced
1 TB crushed chili flakes
1 TB yellow mustard seed
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 cup raisins
Add all ingredients to a heavy bottomed pan and cook, over medium-low heat, until apples have softened and the liquid has begun to thicken, about 30 minutes.
This made exactly one quart!
Out of the oven, I was quite impressed with the result! My high fat meat mixture did result in a bit of a run-off of fat, but the pastry was flaky and firm, with what may have been more of a gap than I might have wanted. I did pour aspic through the hole, but it was not anywhere near enough- the aspic puddled at the interior base of the pie, about 1/2 inch up.
Now, you are probably wondering what wonderful fete we threw to feature this lovely meat pie? Once again, life has been busy. Most of the month was packed full because our son Josh, the former Sweeney Todd, got married last week.
We all traveled to Montana so Josh (still costuming) and his wonderful Abbie could be married at our cousins' place, next to the Bitterroot River.
We are back home now, dealing with long days of work and other obligations, and this cold Pork Pie and Apple Chutney made a nice meal to come home to tonight.