PORK AND APPLE PIE
by Diana Henry
Pies made using a bechamel sauce to bind the filling can be heavy, so it's good to have a recipe in your repertoire without it. This filling is chunky, and thickened with bread crumbs (great thickeners for braises and stews, but you do need to season again after you've added them). To make this slightly more luxurious, add 1/4 cup heavy cream to the filling. You can vary the filling, using mushrooms instead of apples, or cooked pumpkin instead of leeks. Try it, too, with cooked chicken instead of pork.
• 2 leeks
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 onion, coarsely chopped
• 6 slices bacon, chopped
• 2 small or 1 medium apple (I like Cox for this)
• 1 lb (3¼ cups) leftover cooked pork, in chunks
• 3/4 cup apple juice or cider
• 1¼ cups chicken stock
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard (or more, to taste)
• salt and pepper
• 3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 1/2 cap whole-wheat or white bread crumbs
• 17 oz package puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
• all-purpose flour, to dust
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Remove and discard any of the tough outer leaves from the leeks and trim the root end. Cut the leeks into 1 in lengths. Melt the butter in a saute pan and add the leeks, onion, and bacon. Cook over a medium heat until there's some color on the onion and bacon. Halve and core the apple(s) and slice. Add to the pan and cook until they are also coloring a little.
2. Toss in the pork, juice or cider, stock and mustard. Season and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the parsley and bread crumbs, and stir it all together. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
3. Put the mixture into a pie dish and leave to cool a little. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut strips that you can stick all the way around the edge of the pie dish (so the pastry lid has something to stick to). Lightly wet one side and press down all the way round. Now lay the remaining pastry on top and press down. Trim off the excess and crimp the edges. Use the leftover pastry to make decorations for the top. Make a few little slits in the center through which the steam can escape. Using a blunt knife, tap the sides of the pastry all the way around; this helps it to rise. Brush with egg and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffy.
4. Serve hot. This is pretty much a meal in itself. I tend not to serve potatoes on the side (more starch) but offer watercress or spinach salad, or a big bowl of buttery cabbage.