Tempting as it is to say that the nursery rhyme ‘Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Pie’ refers to the amorous adventures (and generous waistline) of the Prince Regent, the truth is that nobody knows for sure. What is true is that during the 18th century, if it fit into a pastry crust, the Georgians would probably make a pie out of it – and with a predilection for what can only be described as rather innovative savoury-sweet flavour combinations. Candied citrus peel, currants and sugar were commonly combined with meat and poultry pie fillings.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 small pork knuckle or ham hock (to give about 1kg of cooked, de-boned meat)
- 4 litres water (enough to just cover the hock, twice over)
- 2 carrots, whole or chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 1 head of garlic, split
- 1 bay leaf
- sprig of thyme
- puff pastry sheets (shop-bought is fine, 1 pack of ready-rolled or block)
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 70g salted butter, plus a knob more
- 3–4 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 tablespoon English mustard or Dijon
- up to 200ml chicken stock (see page
- 145, or shop-bought is fine)
- up to 200ml pork knuckle/ham hock stock, from cooking it (see method)
- 100ml full-fat milk
- 100ml double cream
- splash of olive oil
- 700g chicken breast and thigh meat, diced (or leftover roast chicken)
- splash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce or sriracha sauce (optional)
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper
FOR THE MASHED POTATO
- 5kg potatoes such as King Edwards, Maris Pipers or red Roosters, peeled and halved
- 200g salted butter
- 150ml double cream (if you want a wetter mash add milk, but with pies I feel the mash must be drier)
- salt and pepper
FOR THE PARSLEY LIQUOR
- 100g salted butter
- 80g cornflour
- 250ml chicken stock (shop-bought is fine)
- 250ml ham hock stock (add more or less – keep checking consistency)
- generous bunch of parsley, leaves only, chopped finely
- lemon juice or malt vinegar to taste
- 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
- white pepper to taste
A day in advance
Soak the pork knuckle overnight in cold water.
Next day – allow about 6 hours
Discard the water. Place the knuckle in a large pan, fill with water and bring to the boil, skimming any foam that comes to the top. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and herbs, and simmer for 4 hours at least, till the bone pulls easily out of the pork.
Check the instructions on your pack of pastry, and take it out of the fridge as necessary.
When the pork is cooked, remove it and, once cool enough, pick all the meat from the bone. Set aside 450–500ml of the stock, and discard the rest of the stock and vegetables.
Sweat off the leeks in a saucepan with a knob of butter, cooking till soft and tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Using the same saucepan, melt the 70g butter, then add the flour and mustard, and cook for a further 3 minutes or so.
Make sure the stock is hot, and start adding it to the pan, little by little, whisking constantly to end up with a smooth sauce. When you’ve added about 300ml of stock in total (chicken and/or pork), start adding the milk and cream. If the mix is too thick, add more stock or milk, but avoid making the sauce too thin. Simmer for a few minutes to cook the flour out, season to taste and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC (170ºC for a fan oven).
Take a frying pan, add some olive oil, and brown the chicken, seasoning with salt and pepper. Once it’s an even golden brown all over, remove the chicken and deglaze the frying pan with some water or chicken stock so you get all the goodness off the bottom of the pan.
Now add the chicken, leeks, white sauce and pork/ham and give it a good mix. Taste for seasoning and adjust – you may prefer more mustard or Worcestershire sauce or even sriracha sauce. Set aside to cool slightly.
To assemble the pie, open or roll out the pastry according to instructions on the pack. Then spoon the filling into a pie dish and cover with pastry. Make sure the pastry overlaps the edge of the pie dish, and tuck excess pastry in or trim to the edges of the dish. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 35–40 minutes.
While the pie is cooking, prepare the mash and the parsley liquor for dousing the mash.
Place the peeled potatoes in a pan of salted water and cook till soft and tender, about 15–20 minutes. Drain into a colander, leaving to dry for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and cream together till the butter is melted.
Now mash the potatoes with a masher or ricer. When the mash is smooth, start adding the cream and butter mixture, whisking vigorously to make a smooth mash.
Taste for seasoning, cover with a lid or clingfilm and set aside ready for use.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and whisk in the cornflour to make a paste. Gradually stir in the two stocks, roughly equal amounts of each – add as much as you need for a consistency like double cream – and bring to a simmer, then stir in the parsley and stir until thickened and smooth.
Season to taste with lemon juice or malt vinegar, white pepper and your favourite mustard.
The Art of Cooking: A Contemporary Twist on Georgian Fare is out now and available to purchase from Hatchards Piccadilly and Sotheby’s Restaurant (020 7293 5000; 34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA) RRP. £40