8 hours ago
When Charcutepalooza first began, Rob, in a fit of inspiration, blew through the book and made many of the recipes he wanted to make - without respect for the Charcutepalooza process of making one, pre-ordained recipe per month.
I kept pictures of them all, hoping at some point one of the recipes we had made would come up in a monthly challenge thus saving me the last minute stress of keeping up with this year-long challenge, which, if I'm being honest, has turned into a bit of a burden when I'm:
a. embarking on this new job
b. chasing after a small person who has evidently determined to re imagine Supermarket Sweep as a new game show wherein he bolts around the house trying to find different ways to maim himself
c. not really so much with the blogging at the moment
The challenge this month was a "packing" challenge - so, basically, some variation on paté.
Paté en Croute, which sounds like it should be eaten with twee silver forks and pinkies raised skyward, is, really, just a fancy way to say "meat pie". We have been pretty well obsessed with meat pies since we returned from our trip to London in April. As you might recall, we saw piles of delicious pies under glass at Borough Market. Rob got all swoonie and I had to catch him in my arms and give him smelling salts and, later, slap him really hard and yell "SNAP OUT OF IT MAN! THEY'RE JUST PIES!"
I've dubbed this pie The Titus Andronicus because of the very strong associations I have between meat pies and that play. This pie had all of that overindulgent meatiness evident when Anthony Hopkins cuts through the cannibalistic pies in Julie Taymor outrageously wonderful 1999 film. You can almost FEEL the squish.
When did meat pies become sinister, I wonder? And when, oh when, did they fall out of fashion? My friend W. I. Kipedia (historian, passionate lover, avid collector of facts) tells me that meat pies date back to the Neolithic period (that's 9500 BC for those of you not up on your various periods, *sniff*, what DO they teach in schools these days? ). I imagine the form of food was attractive and remained so for quite a while due to several factors.
First and foremost mixing stuff with other stuff and then covering it with pastry is a really terrific way to hide that maybe some of that stuff isn't so tasty. This is the general strategy of one: Claude Maximillian Overton Transpire Dibbler and lunch ladies the world over. Furthermore, meat pies travel well and come with their own carrying case, like a free gift at Clinique (but with fewer lipsticks you'll never use.) Finally, they are cheap and tasty (in theory, unless they are the worst pies in London) and, things being what they are, for many people those are the two most important attributes a dinner can have.
The great part about this recipe is that it will feed an army and do so for about a week. This is seriously big, seriously dense, seriously delicious foodstuff. We don't typically publish recipes from Ruhlman's book, and our textbook, Charcuterie, but in this case I'm making an exception because he published it in O Magazine so it's already "out there".
English Pork PieRecipe courtesy of Michael Ruhlman
Servings: Serves 6–8
24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for rolling
1 large egg
4 to 6 Tbsp. ice water
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion (about 1 small onion)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 cup diced smoked ham
1 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned broth , plus 1 cup for aspic (optional), chilled
2 tsp. gelatin for aspic (optional)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp. whole milk
To make dough: Dice butter. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and butter. With your fingers, press butter into flour until the mixture looks mealy. Crack egg into a dish; add 4 tablespoons ice water. Beat just to combine. Add to flour mixture and mix just until a paste forms (if dough isn't coming together, add remaining ice water as needed). Alternatively, put flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a knife blade, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add egg and water through feed tube until mixture just comes together. Shape 1/3 of the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic; repeat with remaining 2/3 dough. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day before using.
To make meat filling: In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until soft but not at all browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool; refrigerate until chilled.
Put pork, ham, salt, pepper, thyme, and onion-garlic mixture in a bowl. Using a spatula (or your hands), mix well. Slowly add chicken stock, a few tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°. On a floured work surface, roll larger piece of dough into a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Brush off excess flour and place on a baking sheet. Shape meat mixture into a 5" x 2 1/2" disk and place in the center of the dough. Carefully lift edges of dough and wrap around meat so that it partially covers top of meat. Roll out remaining dough until it's 1/8 inch thick; cut a 6-inch circle from it. Cut a 3/4-inch hole in the center of the circle; set aside.
To make egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk egg, egg yolk, and milk until uniformly blended. Using a pastry brush, paint the edges of the dough encasing the meat, then paint one side of the 6-inch circle of dough. Lift the circle and place egg-wash-side down on meat. Crimp edges of dough together with bottom crust to seal. Brush entire top with egg wash.
Bake pie 20 to 25 minutes, or until crust begins to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 350°, and bake until pie reaches an internal temperature of 150°, about 50 minutes longer. Remove pie from oven and let sit 15 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled (see below).
To serve chilled, make aspic: In a measuring cup, combine chicken stock with gelatin. Microwave until hot and gelatin is dissolved. Slowly pour through steam vent in top of cooked pie. Let cool; refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
Only three more challenges to go and I'll have officially made it through an entire year of Charcuterie.
Next month's challenge is "stretching" and that means confit and rillettes - two things I love to eat and make and two of the more accessible forms of charcuterie in my humble opinion. The containers of duck fat wasting away on the top shelf in my fridge will finally get top billing. I can't wait.
posted Thursday, September 15, 2011