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The Petworth Pie

Lucy Deedes tells you all about how we make our Great Taste Award winning, signature pie, the hand raised “Petworth Pie”

It’s true what they say. Everything from the pig apart from the squeal can be put to good use. For our famous hand raised Petworth Pie, the butchers use the part of the legs that isn’t quite ham and isn’t quite the foot – the ham hock! A cut that is quite unloved, although essential in many central and Eastern European recipes, it is mostly skin and bone but the meat there is, is really packed full of flavour. The Hungry Butchers prepare the cut by curing it in a salt brine for 3 days. Then it is the turn of the Hungry Chefs to work their magic. Firstly to get rid of some of the salt the hocks are rinsed repeatedly in fresh water over a period of 12 hours. Because the cut is full of tough muscle it lends itself very well to our favourite style of cooking – low’n’slow. This means it is will cooked submerged in water, with plenty of veggies added to the stock, at 82˚C in the oven overnight. Once cooked the meat is now so tender that it fall of the bone. The meat is carefully separated (our Polish bakers take a keen interest at this point!) and cooled and kept. The cooking liquid is strained and reduced. The hock are naturally very gelatinous so when the cooking liquid is reduced to the right point and cooled it is perfect for the jelly for the pie. So now we have two element required for making the pie.

The third ingredient is another less liked cut but one of our favourites, chicken thighs. Unlike the more delicate chicken breast, the thighs have more flavour and can withstand a bit more cooking and still stay moist and tender. We use boned out and skinless thighs for the pie. They get a gentle tap with the meat hammer before use.

Petworth Pie

Finally it is the traditional hot water pastry. Most recipes will call for lard to be used we say PAH! to the lard and use a bit of beef dripping for extra flavour and crunch to the crust. Rolled out to 4 mm it is now time to fill the pie. We start with a layer of chicken thighs, season with cracked black pepper and fresh thyme. Then a layer of picked ham hock meat, season and so on till the pie is full. The the lid is carefully put on top, the sides crimped and a whole made in the middle of the pie lid to allow steam to escape during cooking and later to be able to pour the jelly in through. Then it is eggwashed on all sides to give a golden finish to crust and baked for 1 hour. It is allowed to cool before the jelly is added and then refrigerated for minimum 8 hours before serving. When you cut into you can see the beautiful layers of dark ham hock meat, lighter chicken meat all surrounded by shiny jelly.

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A slice of this with a chunk of our Pain d’Alsace sour dough, some Hungry Guest Fruit & Brown Ale chutney, a dollop of mustard and lunch is served!

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