I can’t quite believe that it will be October tomorrow but for me that’s good news, as I love this time of year. I adore the sudden change in the season as the pretty pinks and bright yellows of summer fade into the rich reds and dusky oranges of autumn.
Everything starts to feel cosy, warm and snug, and part of that is the food I want to eat. It has to be hot, hearty and robust but still taste fresh and be full of flavour.
My Heavenly Ham Hock Pie is just the ticket and is perfect for filling hungry tummies. This is a proper autumnal pie which is great hot from the oven or cold in your lunchbox. You could serve it with some mash or just some broccoli or greens, but its filled with lots of lovely veg so it is pretty much a meal in a slice.
I use ready made shop bought short crust pastry in this recipe but you could easily make your own if you prefer. This serves approx 4 to 6 people.
Heavenly Ham Hock Pie
25cm pie dish
1 x 500g pack of ready made short crust pastry. Plain flour for rolling.
1 x knob of butter for frying
1 x large onion, roughly chopped
3 x medium leeks, finely sliced
1 x large carrot, finely diced
2oog new potatoes (with skins) finely diced
100g frozen peas
180g pack of ham hock (I found this in Waitrose)
2 Bay leaves
Sprinkling of rosemary
Approx 400ml of vegetable stock, you will need enough to almost cover the vegetables and ham
1 egg, for egg washing the pie top
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
2. Roll out half of the pastry, line the pie dish and blind bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure it is nice and firm, this will help to prevent the pie from getting a soggy bottom. When it’s ready bring it out of the oven and leave it to cool down.
3. Next, in a large saucepan or pot, fry the onion and the leek in the butter for about 5 minutes on a medium heat until soft but don’t let them colour.
4. Add the carrot, potato and peas to the pan. Stir well. Season well and leave to cook for a few minutes.
5. Add the ham hock (it comes already shredded but you might want to break up any larger chunks), the bay leaves, rosemary and the stock. You don’t need to cover everything with the stock, just have enough so that it comes to the top of the vegetables and the meat.
6. Simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are just cooked through. Keep an eye on them as you don’t want to over cook the filling as you’ll end up with a mushy mesh. Season to taste.
7. You should wait until the filling has cooled a little before filling your pie. Remember to remove the bay leaves. Don’t over fill the pie and don’t add too much of the gravy as it will make it soggy. If you have a bit of left over filling it will taste lovely warmed up the next day with a bit of bread on the side!
8. Roll out the remaining pastry and top your pie. Crimp the edges firmly and remember to cut a small slit into the top to let the steam out. Brush with the beaten egg. Place on a baking tray ( just makes it easier to get it in and out of the oven) and bake at 180 degrees fan for about 30 minutes until the pastry is thoroughly cooked and golden brown.
9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before cutting into nice big slices.
10. Finally, grab a knife and fork and dig in!