Amongst the many summer reading books I have read over the years is Great Expectations.
Those familiar with the work by Charles Dickens may point out that it is amongst one of Dickens’ more colorful works with a vibrant cast and dramatic story. However, it seemed a drudgery to me as I sat on the beach trying to finish another few chapters so I could go swim with my friends.
The only parts I found interesting were those describing food. Fortunately, Dickens seemed to agree with me and he discussed bread and pork pie in the first two chapters.
I stole some bread, some rind of cheese, about half a jar of mincemeat (which I tied up in my pocket-handkerchief with my last night’s slice), some brandy from a stone bottle (which I decanted into a glass bottle I had secretly used for making that intoxicating fluid, Spanish-liquorice-water, up in my room: diluting the stone bottle from a jug in the kitchen cupboard), a meat bone with very little on it, and a beautiful round compact pork pie. I was nearly going away without the pie, but I was tempted to mount upon a shelf, to look what it was that was put away so carefully in a covered earthen ware dish in a corner, and I found it was the pie, and I took it in the hope that it was not intended for early use, and would not be missed for some time.
(Thanks Project Gutenburg!)
I have never eaten a pork pie and had no idea what it was. But as I have decided to re-read this English classic, I thought I would research it and prepare some for dinner.
However, I was not able to get past the idea of pork jelly and decided to forage my own culinary path. I did have some boneless pork chops, fennel sausage, and apples. I added a few healthy dollops of mustard, carrots for sweetness, and a nice flaky crust. I am clearly ready for fall. The apples were mellow but added some interest and the creamy mustard and vegetable moisture compensated nicely for the lean pork.
Inspired by Nigel Slater’s version
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
2 apples, chopped
2 boneless pork chops, diced
2 sausage linked, emptied from casing
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c flour
8 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c water
In a large bowl or food processor, mix flour and salt. Add butter cut into 1 inch chunks. Work butter into dough until butter forms pea-sized chunks. Slowly add water and continue working the flour gently until it forms a dough. Set aside.
Preheat over to 375°F.
Saute onion, carrots, and apples in a large pan with some olive oil. Cook over medium heat until softened. Add chopped pork and crumbled sausage and cook completely. Add mustard and seasonings to taste.
Cut dough in half. Roll out one half and lay in 9″ pie pan. Fill with meat mixture. Roll out second half of dough and lay over meat mixture. Seal pie crust and cut in steam vents. You can make this as pretty as you like as this pie doesn’t seem to release much liquid.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!