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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cockeyed Cockney

I am so excited because I have my first guest posting gig at Dying for Chocolate (click here), a deliciously fun blog devoted to all things chocolate!  What could be bad?  Food, fun, calories... It's all good!

Stop by on Thursday and say hi!  You'll be glad you did.

Now read on for today's You Little Tarte's posting....

One of the things that I really like about English pub food is that it's relaxed, sit around the table kind of food.  It's easy and open to interpretation.  Like a well rounded wardrobe, you can mix and match and find what looks, or in this case, tastes good.  I love when food can be like clothes.

Anyway, getting back to the pub.  I love all the sausages and savory pies that are staples of any pub menu.  It sure beats the peanuts and chicken wings found in bars around here.  British pubs are as much a place to have a little nibble and a really good conversation as they a place to have a drink.

Last night I was flipping channels while I was doing the dishes.  Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution were in Los Angeles and they were carrying on about the quality of school lunches.  There was a lot of yelling and Jamie kept rubbing his head as though he was in actual physical pain from what these kids were served in the school cafeteria.    There was Jamie, running around, arms waving, looking concerned and very... British.  Unfortunately for Jamie, I wasn't thinking as much about school lunch as I was about... dinner.

Now, I am sure that Jamie would have preferred if I had gotten all indignant and hopped on the Food Revolution bandwagon.  I am sure that a guy like Jamie, who probably enjoys a good cornish pasty just as much as the next guy, would have preferred that my takeaway from his ranting wasn't "gee, I'm in the mood for a savory pie", but you just can't have everything.  At least I was watching.

This morning I was still thinking about pub food for dinner.  I have to admit that, although I must have 500 cookbooks, I don't actually have any dedicated to traditional English fare.  So I had to compromise.  I remembered that I had seen a recipe for Porkie Pie in a Tyler Florence cookbook, and I had been meaning to try it.  Today was the day.

Let me tell you, this savory pie was worth the effort although making it wasn't a quick deal.  You have to make the pastry.  Then you have to make the ragu.  Then there's the assembly.  And finally there's the gravy.  As I said, not quick so plan ahead.

I had ground beef in the freezer so I made it with that instead of the ground pork called for in the recipe.  I guess that technically makes it a Beefie Pie but Porkie Pie has a better ring to it.  In any case, it was delicious and savory and just what Jamie got me thinking about.  Maybe next I'll get with the Food Revolution.

Recipe:  Porkie Pie
(Adapted from Tyler Florence)


For the Pastry Dough
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the Ragu
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef (or pork or a mixture)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 16 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices
Laves from 1 bunch fresh thyme
4 cups dry red wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg lightly beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour


To Make the Pastry
Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs.  Slowly add 4 tablespoons of ice water.  Process until dough just comes together.  Turn out onto floured board and knead until the dough is smooth.  Once smooth, divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other, press into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.

To Make the Ragu
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat.  Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic in the pot and add the ground meat.  Saute for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meat gets browned and the vegetables have released most of their moisture.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, and wine.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Use a ladle to dip out 2 cups of the liquid from the pot and set aside for the sauce.  Continue to cook the ragu until the remaining liquid has almost entirely cooked off, another 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Roll the larger disk of pastry into a round large enough to fit into a 9 inch pie pan.  Fit the dough into the pan and fill it with the cooled ragu.  Roll out the smaller dough disk and place it over the filling.  Pinch the edges together all the way around and poke a hole in the top for steam to escape.  Use a pastry brush to brush the entire crust with the beaten egg.  Bake the pie until golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes,  Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

While the pie bakes, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook over medium low heat without browning for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.  Whisk in the reserved cooking liquid and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper.  Whisk to incorporate.  Keep warm.

Serve warm with the warm sauce.

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