Right, hands up if you like pies. OK, that was probably a silly question. Everyone loves a pie, don’t they? We are nation raised on pies after all and this wonderful, portable foodstuff can be found in a variety of incarnations – from John O’ Groats, all the way down to the Lands’ End.
You could even say that we have pie running through our veins. Well, some of us maybe.
But why are we fervently banging on about them anyway? Well, it’s British Pie Week of course and over the last few years, we have been seeing more and more in the way of cured meats entering the fray.
This is not a pun on a certain tinned brand of pie, you must understand. No, where once upon a time, you would often see the inclusion of offal as a cornerstone to stewing cuts – such as kidneys – we have simply seen an upshift in the use of charcuterie. Primarily because cured meat often adds another dimension of flavour. A hint of chilli there. A touch of aniseed there. It’s all about the finer details for pies these days. Rather than bulking out with cheap cuts.
Which of course is brilliant and as you might expect, we fully advocate the use of British cured meats in pies.
You may well be asking yourself, what constitutes as the perfect pie these days then? Well, this what the C&C team have to say about the subject.
I love pie of all kinds but what I cannot abide is a pie that is not fully clothed ie one of those things where you get a stew and then a puff pastry top. This is not a pie. A pie must be fully encased and ideally in shortcrust pastry. Chorizo is great in a pie – especially the good stuff from Cornish Charcuterie. Cured meat holds up well to low and slow cooking and maintains its texture and ‘bite’. Is it lunch time yet?
I don’t eat pies that often but agree shortcrust is the best although that is for when you are eating at home or in a restaurant (and it must be fully encased). But if you are taking it to work or on a picnic then a harder (more robust) pastry is required unless you want to end up with a smooshed mess. If you like a touch of heat, a little slice of nduja from Moons Green, melted down into the mix is always a winner.
If is OK to go away a little bit from the traditional approach, I think wild mushroom pie with prosciutto or smoked ham is great. So delicious. Rabbit pie with mushroom and truffle salami is also another fantastic option. If I am doing it the British way, then the pastry is always shortcrust pastry. Sometimes it’s good to go French with puff pastry though.
I am 100% not a fussy pie person. If it’s wrapped in pastry, then I’ll most likely love it! I do however, make a mean Boxing Day pie with hot crust, lard-laden pastry using all the leftover turkey, sausage stuffing and some of my homemade bacon – I do like to make my own for special occasions. All served with a cheeky bit of leftover cranberry sauce.
Me? I love a good pasty, Cornish style, or like an empanada. Which is still a pie. You know, I once experimented with some rare breed beef biltong from Big Horn, all finely chopped up and mixed in with some decent chuck steak and sweet potato. Those empanadas were glorious, with just a hint of spice. I think I ate at least five.