HFF: Literary Meat Pies, Two Ways

“I hope there is something left for the late-comers to eat and drink! What’s that? Tea! No thank you! A little red wine, I think, for me.”
“And for me,” said Thorin.
“And raspberry jam and apple-tart,” said Bifur.
“And mince-pies and cheese,” said Bofur.
“And pork-pie and salad,” said Bombur.
“And more cakes-and ale-and coffee, if you don’t mind,” called the other dwarves through the door.

-The Hobbit- Chapter 1, An Unexpected Party, J.R.R. Tolkien

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Pulled Pork Pie

I adore pasties and meat pies.  Even though I don’t always enjoy rolling out the dough for them, I love to eat them.  The eighth challenge for the Historical Food Fortnightly was to “make a dish that has been mentioned in a work of literature, based on historical documentation about that food item.”

In my searching, I found the quote above from The Hobbit and decided I was going to make a meat pie.

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Smoked Pork Loin Pie

That decision led to lots of cooking this weekend.  After I told Amon that I would like to make a roast to get pulled pork for one of my recipes, he decided that we would pull out the smoker.  He made ribs and pulled pork for a delicious dinner on Saturday,  On Sunday, I made not one meat pie, but two using different medieval recipes and two different kinds of meat.

One pork pie was made with leftover pulled pork… which was full of all the smoky goodness and may have changed the flavor of the pie, but oh well.  The second pork pie was made with deli sliced smoked pork loin.

Amon was the one who thought of using the deli slices.  Of course, he also thought I was layering the slices with ground pork…  But it worked regardless.  I was originally going to tear the slices into smaller pieces, but then I remembered that I hadn’t injured myself lately and I could use the Ninja.  The pork loin ended up looking, and tasting, like ground ham.  I may have Ninja’d it too much.

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The Ninja in action on the poor pork loin slices

The leftover pulled pork went into the Ninja too but not for as long.

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The pulled pork after it was attacked by the Ninja

And I’m quite happy to report that no injuries occurred while using the Ninja which is quite an achievement for me. 🙂

As I was putting these pies together, I was quite happy that I managed to transcribe out the recipes and reduce them as I needed.  I was quite happy that I was doing well and wasn’t making any mistakes… until I pulled the pork loin pie out of the oven and realized that I had left out not one, but two ingredients and possibly messed up on my seasoning…  Sigh.  On the other hand, it was probably a good goof.  I found out neither the Kiddo nor Amon like currants and that was one of the ingredients I left out.

Regardless of my recipe goofs, both of these pies were delicious.  I really liked the pulled pork mini pie (with currants).  I made a mini pie because, well, I didn’t want to waste all that delicious pulled pork if the recipe fizzled.

The Challenge:  #8 Literary Foods

The Recipe: 
1 – Basic Meat Pie from various Medieval/Renaissance sources (A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes website)

Here is what I ended up doing:
1 lb deli sliced smoked pork loin
3 egg yolks
1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken broth (because that’s what I had on hand)
Splash of red wine (which I forgot)
3/4 – 1 1/2 cup currants (which I forgot about)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and place in a pie shell.  Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.  The original recipe gave the option of putting another shell over the pie or covering it with pieces of cooked chicken.  I only had a certain amount of store bought pie crust and didn’t feel like running out to the store so this went in without a lid.
2 – Tartes de Chare – A-nother manere from Harleian MS. 279 (A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipe website)

I reduced this recipe to fit the little bit of pulled pork I was willing to part with.  I also ended up adding an extra egg yolk (which brought the total up to three) and a little bit more honey (to bring it up to 1/4 cup) to make the mixture a little more runny.
1/2 lb smoked pulled pork
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup currants

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes.   I remembered the currants in this recipe!  It went into a ramekin with store bought pie crust.   I originally reduced the cooking time, but it created a very thick pie and I needed the whole time.

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The Date/Year and Region:
1 – Medieval/Renaissance.  I found various recipes throughout the time period and the website didn’t list a specific time as this recipe is a conglomeration of lots of them.

2 – England, 15th century

Time to Complete:
Both pies took about fifteen to twenty minutes to put together.  It probably took me a little bit longer because I was fudging my numbers around at that time too.  And each pie took about forty five minutes to cook.

Total Cost:  
I believe the pork loin cost about six dollars for the pound.  Everything else was on hand or leftovers.  I’m not going to try to calculate how much the half pound of pulled pork cost.  Whatever it was, it was worth it.

How Accurate Is It?: 
These pies are only sort of accurate.  I used store bought pie dough and the pork choices were experimental.  I think that the itty bitty pieces of pork loin might be close to what was actually called for in the recipe as it said to “grind or mash” small pieces of pork.  To make it more accurate, I should probably use a roasted pulled pork rather than smoked.  But either way, it was delicious.

How Successful Was It?: 

I am definitely keeping these recipes close at hand.  The basic meat pie recipe itself is something I can see myself referring to in the future.  Of course, I have yet to find a meat pie that I don’t like, so I might be biased.

Were these close the pork pies that Bilbo had in his pantry?  Maybe.  I am sure that he would have enjoyed these.

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