In 1900, Frederick Vine published the recipe for a Derby pie in one of his books. At first I thought the pie was named after the county of Derby or Derbyshire, but thanks to the introduction to Vine’s recipe, I discovered that this pie was so named because it was a popular snack at derby picnic parties. In the past it was popular for people to make a day out of the local derby – a football match between two local teams. There were very extensive picnic options and sometimes people even brought their servants and furniture along to picnic in style and splendour.
Derby picnic parties sometimes turned out very badly, when the pie, which contains cold meat, was kept in unsuitable conditions. The
Derby pie is still made in a simplified form today, ideal for a picnic or lunch party. You make the pie in advance and on the day it makes a festive table decoration.
This recipe is made with ham hock and minced pork, but 19th-century recipes also suggest veal, chicken and tongue. Certainly worth a try!
Prepare the ham hock a day in advance. Chop the vegetables and briefly fry them in butter in a deep flameproof casserole dish. Add the ham and enough water so that the ham is completely covered, then add the pepper and bay leaf and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat falls off the bone easily. Remove the ham and let it cool. You can use the cooking liquid as the basis for a soup, such as pea soup. If there is excess ham, you can also add this to your soup.
Now I’m going to tell you how to cook an egg because, let’s be honest, we often mess up the simplest things. I start with boiling water, add the eggs, turn down the heat and cook for 9 minutes for an almost hard-boiled egg with a soft yolk. In this way, the egg can continue to cook during the baking of the pie without becoming too dry. Run the egg under cold water to stop the cooking process and immediately peel it while wet because this is the easiest way to do it. Set the egg aside while you prepare the filling.
Finely chop the ham hock and measure out
Follow the method for the Hot water crust pastry. Set aside a third of the pastry to make the lid (if possible, keep it warm on a radiator or stove).
Roll out the remaining pastry until
Line the pastry with the strips of bacon, letting the ends hang over the sides of the tin. Add half of the meat mixture and gently press it into the sides of the tin. Place the eggs on top of the meat and press them into the meat slightly so they stand upright. Add the rest of the meat mixture to fill up the pie. Fold the bacon over the meat, adding more strips so that the entire outside of the filling is covered with bacon.
Roll out the remaining pastry for the lid, brush the edges with the egg wash and put the lid on top. Trim the excess pastry and crimp the pastry together with your fingers. Decorate with the excess pastry and brush the top with egg wash.
Let the pie cool completely before serving or keep it well covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. A sharp English mustard is a perfect match and an absolute must!
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