Pork pies seem to be a very English thing that the Scots enjoy once in a while. (One web site I found said that the original pork pie recipe came from France, but I don’t know if that’s true. Even if it is, the English will deny it, I’m sure.) The ones I bought are Melton Mowbray pork pies, which my husband said are the best. Looking it up online, I found out that the difference is that Melton Mowbray pies are made of regular pork, while plain pork pies are generally made from cured pork products like bacon and ham. I’ve eaten plain pork pies at a few office parties, so we’ll see if there is a difference.
The pie itself is a short cylindrical pastry, much like the usual American pie pastry, folded around pork and, apparently, pork jelly, which is the natural gelatine that comes out of the pork (much like the jelly stuff around Spam). It can be baked as a big full-sized pie to cut into slices and serve, but more usually it is baked in little individual mini-pies. I’m eating them cold (which is the usual way), so there isn’t a strong smell at all. It smells of pastry and pork. As I’d expect.
My husband insisted that I try it with Branston Pickle, but I also tried a little bit plain. When you slice into the pie, the meat stays packed tightly together inside, in a way that I have to admit, is incredibly appealing. It’s all smooth and pink inside the crumbly pastry. It has a texture much like a good sausage, but not the British sausages with breadcrumbs inside. More like a German or American sausage. Very dense and meaty. There isn’t as strong of a flavor as I remembered from the ones I’ve had in the office. I’m guessing that it’s because these are the more delicate and fresh Melton Mowbray pies, without cured meat. The cured meat ones are saltier and a little spicier. I like them, but I think I do prefer the freshness of the Melton Mowbray pies. Also, my husband was right that they are excellent with a little Branston Pickle. I would definitely eat pork pies again, but hopefully not too often, as they aren’t particularly healthy.
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