Pigsty Pie

Here’s one for the de-toxers.

Take some trotters. Simmer until they wobble and flex. Pick any meat and the occasional piece of gelatinous flesh-skin from the trotter, and add back into the viscous cooking liquor. Then fry up a kilo or so of wonderfully fatty minced pork shoulder and belly, plus a bucket of smoked lardons. Spice, season, chuck in a few tomatoes and that trotter stock*. Let it bubble for a bit. Add some turnips. Decant into an oven dish before covering with mashed swede and sweet potato. Bake when needed. Serve the pie with a big pile of blanched and buttery seasonal greens — turnip tops if they’re available, Spring greens, kale, cavolo nero &etc. Eat. Lie back on sofa for as long as required [hint: some time].

A more detailed method is below — originally devised for Borough Market’s recipe pages to go alongside this piece on nutmeg and mace.

* a less time-consuming and significantly tastier option would be to purchase some pre-made St John Trotter Gear.

Pigsty pie

For 800ml pork trotter stock (use the same quantity of another pork or chicken stock if you prefer)

  • 2 trotters
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 8 allspice berries
  • 1 star anise

For the pie filling

  • 200g smoked lardons
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1.2kg pork mince
  • 300g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 400g turnip in 2-3cm dice
  • Handful of turnip tops, roughly chopped (if you have them)
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the topping

  • 1.2kg swede
  • 800g sweet potato
  • 2 mace blades
  • 50g butter
  • Nutmeg
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Wipe any dirt from the trotters. Place in a large saucepan, add the remaining stock ingredients and cover with 2.5l cold water. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. After 10 minutes or so remove any scum from the top and repeat again if necessary. Cook gently for 2.5-3 hours until the trotter flesh falls away at the touch of a spoon. Leave to cool for an hour, then remove the trotters and pick any meat off them. Strain the water through a sieve and into a clean pan, then reduce until you’ve 800ml remaining (probably by a half). You could do all of this in advance.

To make the pie filling, put one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the lardons and place over a medium-high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes until their fat is rendered and the meat golden brown. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, before tipping-in the ground pork. Cook for about 8 minutes until browned; you’ll need to turn the meat occasionally, but don’t stir it all the time.

When the pork is looking reasonably cooked, add the tomatoes, spices, stock and any trotter meat. Cook gently for 20 minutes, before adding the diced turnip (and chopped stems and leaves if you have them) and warming that through for five minutes. Decant into a large ovenproof dish. The meat mix should be quite sloppy.

Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop and boil the swede and sweet potato until soft enough to mash. You should do this in separate pans, with one mace blade in each, unless you’re confident that the two are of a size that’ll cook at similar speed (the swede will need to be much smaller than the sweet potato). When soft, remove the mace and discard. Drain the vegetables thoroughly. Then mash together with the butter, plenty of salt and pepper, and 7 or 8 grates of nutmeg. Spoon over the pork mix then use a fork to ensure the mash is well distributed and textured, rather than flat.

Heat the oven to 200C. Put the Pigsty pie on a baking tray (in case sauce boils over), and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is nicely crusted and the gravy bubbling through.