So, do you have any special dishes that you prepare for thanksgiving? Both sets of parents are coming to the new house for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and Norm & I want everything perfect (well of course we do we’re both so damned anal retentive it isn’t funny). How badly to we want everything perfect? Well, on Saturday he sent me to get the rug cleaner from my parents’ house. When I returned he had the rug ripped out of one room, had the walls almost completely painted, and was working on the ceiling. By the time the night was over he’d completely redone that whole room–all I helped with was fitting the new berber carpet in place (which we got for free from a friend–thanks, Margaret!). I, meanwhile, spent those hours in the kitchen pre-cooking whatever I could for Thursday. Like the meat pies that are tradition in my family around the holidays. Very simple recipe, very tasty dish–especially with that turkey gravy poured over the top–but you have to tend the pan pretty faithfully for a couple of hours. Hope there’s a TV in the kitchen. So here’s the recipe while I get ready to work on the other dishes that can be pre-prepped tonight. Hope you like it. It’s a very simple recipe that requires a lot of time and attention to get right. (And don’t forget to share your good recipes, ok?!)
Gramma’s Holiday Pork Pie
For each pie you will need:
1 lb pork hamburg (ground lean pork)
1-2 small onions
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 poultry seasoning
1-3 pieces of de-crusted bread (to help absorb any extra grease) as needed
Break the pork up into small pieces in a deep frying pan or one of those pots you cook potatoes in, depending on just how much pork and how many pies you’re making. Add your spices and diced onions.* Add just enough water to cover and cook thoroughly for at least two hours on medium heat. You will have to tend the pot frequently to make sure the meat is thoroughly broken up–you want it to cook completely. Usually I have to add some torn up pieces of white bread (crust removed) toward the end of the cooking process to absorb any excess grease that may be floating at the top of the pan. The end result should look like minced meat, but it tastes so much better.
(*You should note that while the recipe calls for 1 lb of meat, I make thicker pies than Gramma did, and use a 9 1/2″ Pyrex pie plate as opposed to the 8 1/2″ to 9″ ones she had. Also, my pie plates are deeper and allow for more filling. So I personally use 1 1/2 lbs pork for each pie, and I add just a little more salt. The poultry seasoning you can really only measure by taste, but if I had to estimate I’d say it’s about 1 1/2 tsp per lb–I always have to add more, even when making the normal sized pies the recipe calls for.
Also note: while the recipe calls for 1-2 small onions per lb of meat, I just made a batch of 5 lbs of filling, and there’s no way I was putting 10 onions in that thing. 3 good sized (about the size of an apple) onions was plenty for the 5 lb batch.)
For the crust, you can do it the hard way and make your own, or you can do what I do and use the lovely Pillsbury Pie Crusts found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. They come two crusts per box, which is handy since each pie needs a top and bottom crust, and can be frozen if need be. They take only fifteen minutes to thaw straight from the fridge, so I pick them up the day before I make the pies, keep them in the fridge, and pull them out about 15 minutes before my filling is done. They have no creases or folds, and simply roll out to the size of the pie plate. SOOOOOOO much easier than making crust by hand, and they taste homemade. No kidding.
Line your pie plate with the bottom crust, fill with meat filling, top with second pie crust, poke a few holes in it to air it out, and voila! You’re done!! I wrap them in Saran Wrap and store in the freezer (for up to a few months if need be). Thaw then cook for an hour @375degrees, and top with that turkey gravy you made for Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post my recipe for Pumpkin Bread. Enjoy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!!