Noble Savage (he said):
I love pies! And I’m not talking about those time bombs you buy at the Engen when you’ve had too much to drink. Real, proper, homemade pies. The only drawback is that it’s not exactly “summer food”. Summer fucking sucks! So imagine my joy when we had a cool, rainy weekend in January.
Let’s start at the start. A few months ago, we were having a drink at Salt. I noticed a pie cookbook on the shelf, and started paging through it. The book is “Pieminister: A Pie For All Seasons” by Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon. They have a pie shop in the UK, and by the recipes alone is a good excuse to emigrate. Plus, it was available on Takealot. Add to cart!
So finally, a weekend dawned where I could take one of the recipes for a spin! We decided in the pulled pork, apple cider, and sage pie. Obviously, the main ingredient is the pulled pork, so I bought a pork shoulder from the always great Wierda Park Butchery. The recipe calls for the shoulder to be cooked at 180℃ in some water, good apple cider, and veggies.
This should be done for four hours. Unfortunately, that’s an hour more than my attention span. Result: burned to shit!
So great, my plan (almost literally) up in flames. Luckily, on closer inspection, I was able to save most of the meat. And luckily it wasn’t dry. But I had to re-invent the whole thing, because I could only salvage the meat. So after rummaging around in the cupboard, I found some things that could work with the pulled pork. So, here goes:
- +- 1.5 kg pork shoulder
- Salt & pepper
- About 500 ml good cider (ginger beer would also work)
- 2 carrots
- 4 red onions
- 2 garlic heads, tops cut off
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can diced or whole tomatoes
- Handful sage leaves
- Mexican spices (I used a Con Carne pre-mix from Woolies)
- A sheet puff pastry
- 1 egg
Start with the pulled pork. After my fuck-up, I would highly recommend using a slow cooker (if you have one). Pop in the shoulder with two roughly chopped onions and carrots, pour in the cider, and cover with water. You can let this simmer for up to eight hours, so you can let it go overnight. If you’re doing it in the oven, it should take about four hours, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, check the fluid levels every now and then. Once done, you can shred the pork with two forks. Keep about a glass of the stock; the rest can be discarded.
Next up, grill your garlic. With the tops cut off, pop them in a 180℃ oven for 20 – 30 minutes. While that’s going, fry up the other two onions in a pan. When the garlic is done, squeeze the head so that all the paste oozes out. Fry for another 30 seconds, then add the beans, tomatoes, chopped sage, and the stock from the slow cooker. Let it simmer until it’s at a consistency you prefer. Stir in the pulled pork, and you’re done with the hard work.
Next up, spoon the pork mix into your pie dish or dishes. You can roll out the puff pastry if you want, but I prefer mine a bit thicker. Give it a brush with egg, quick grind of pepper on top, pop it into a 180℃ oven for 20 to 30 minutes, and you’re done!
This little incident proves that following a recipe is not the be-all and end-all of making a nice meal. Try the recipe once, but then fuck around with it a bit. The worst that could happen is that it’s inedible and disgusting. But hey, that’s why take aways were invented. So play around, and have fun!