A connoisseur’s guide to pork pies

From pubs and supermarkets to flash restaurants, pork pies have gone gourmet

Food

06 Mar 2017

Who doesn’t love a pork pie? Well, they aren’t to everyone’s taste. But for those of us who do like these crumbly, meaty parcels, there have never been more ways to enjoy them. Just serve with a dollop of English mustard or spoonful of pickle on the side.

Butcher
The Ginger Pig is a butcher that specialises in producing pork pies. There are shops around London – including in Borough Market, Marylebone and Shepherd’s Bush. The hand-raised, hot-water pastry is packed with delicious meat, with a traditional jelly separating the two. Choose from traditional pork, black pudding with caramelised onion or seasonal game.

Supermarkets
Buying pork pies from supermarkets can be a strictly hit and miss affair, but Morrison’s Caramelised Onion Lattice Pork Pie comes with the seal of approval from a panel of master butchers and Michelin-starred chefs, who named it best pie in Britain last year, while Tesco Finest Extra Large Melton Mowbray Pork Pie by Walker & Son won a prize at the 2016 British Pie Awards.

The pork pie at Berners Tavern (Twitter)

Pub
Crisps and nuts are all well and good but nothing beats a pub pork pie. They are the ideal accompaniment to a pint. Pubs across the country now serve up excellent ones. Two of our favourites are at the Southampton Arms in Highgate and the Bakers Arms in Blaby, Leicestershire.

Restaurant
It may seem odd eating a pork pie in a restaurant. After all, aren’t they the preserve of picnics and pubs? But the pork pie served at Berners Tavern in Fitzrovia is worth the fuss. It uses free-range pork from Dingley Dell in Suffolk, which is encased in a hot-water crust pastry. The large pork pie is brought to the table on a trolley and a slice is cut off. This is served with a selection of pickled onion, carrots and fennel, which helps cut through the richness of the pie.

Online
The pork pie travels well so it can be ordered online for delivery. Dickinson & Morris sells classic Melton Mowbray pies, which are made in the traditional way using uncured pork. Fortnum & Mason’s pork pies are – unsurprisingly – moreish, as are Forman & Field’s and Burbush’s of Penrith’s, who ‘bake to order’. Michael Kirk is a champion pork pie maker – and his website, porkiepies.com, sells some of the finest in Britain. Pack one in a picnic and – whatever the weather – it is bound to be a success.


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