Thursday, 22 March 2012

Braised Pig Cheek and Black Pudding Pie

One year ago today (that's 22nd March) one man had a vision.  That vision was to make some soups and then blog about said soups.  He came up with a name for his blog, based on a mis-remembered Futurama line, and set about making his first ever blog post. Little did he realise that 365 days later, he would still be making soups, still be blogging about them and be having fun doing it too!

(Please note - the image to the left has nothing to do with either the blog or soup, but was painted for me by a friend for christmas when I jokingly asked her to paint the most awesome painting ever concieved - I think you will agree she pretty much knocked it of the park and I thought it deserved to be seen by more people...)

That man was me, and that blog was this blog (in case you hadn't got it) and the best part of this whole malarkey is that I have met some lovely people on line (both commenting here and on twitter) as well as making some lovely soups.  And I always appreciate people popping by to say 'ahoy hoy', so why not do it!

But being the contrary beggar that I am, the happy birthday post is not a soup at all, but a ha-pie birthday post, as you may have guessed by the title. And if you are wondering what to get the blog by way of a present - we celebrate not with cake but with pie in the Soup household, so you know what to do...

And before we get to the pie (and I'm getting all choked up here) a big thank you to you, yes you the reader for reading my blog, and hopefully enjoying what you read - and maybe, just maybe cooking along at home...

Ingredients for the pie filling
(For the slow cooker)
50g Celery
100g Leek
100g Carrot
100g Mushrooms
1 Onion
1kg Pig's Cheeks
5 Peppercorns
1 Star Anise

(For the filling)
175g Mushrooms
150g Black Pudding

You will also need the ingredients for the pastry, or you can just buy some ready made short crust if you aren't into the whole pastry thing...


1. First you need to prepare the pastry.  We made Rough Puff pastry (Mrs Soup's contribution) but as it's someone elses recipe we will leave the exact quantities up to you.  Suffice to say you will need enough to line and cover your pie dish.

I used the recipe for Rough-Puff pastry from the Hairy Bikers' Pie book. Starting out with cold butter, I cut small cubes and mixed it in with the flour. I then kept slicing the butter and mixing with the flour until the bits of butter were fairly small. (I've included a picture as I had no idea how small to go, and now know this size gives a decent puff pastry!)
 Then mixed the water and lemon juice into the mix and mixed a bit until it came together. Then rolled the pastry out, folded it in thirds, and repeated rolling and folding 5 times. This all went into the fridge overnight until it was time to assemble the pie.

Next, you can make the pie filling

2.  Cut the pig's cheeks up into roughly 2cm chunks, then fry in some oil in small batches until the meat is nice and brown
3. Roughly shop the vegetables, throw the lot into a slow cooker along with the browned meat, peppercorn and star anise. Cover with cold water and then cook for 4 hours. Let the mixture cool and then drain the liquid into a pan.  Fish out the meat and discard the vegetables.

4. Heat the meaty liquid and reduce it down to about 1/3 its quantity, thicken with a bit of cornflour if needed to make a rich and tasty sauce.  The star anise flavour works well with the meat to bring out it's rich pork flavours. Leave this to cool .
5. Line your pie dish with pastry, then add the meat, chopped mushrooms and cubed black pudding.  Pour the rich gravy mixture over this until it covers the filling.  If you have any left over, set this aside to use as a gravy for the finished meal.

6. Brush the crust of the pie with beaten egg.

7. Put the pie in the oven at 220ºC for 30/40mins

8.  Make your veg - we had greens and mashed potato, with extra butter, horseradish sauce and chives, and used the rest of the meaty gravy, with added red wine to make a sauce.

9.  Serve and enjoy!

Special Bonus... We had some left over pastry so we made some jam pasties - like me mum used to make...


  1. Yummy!Happy Birthday to your Blog,again...I love your fab recipes and therefore I'm a keen follower.Keep cooking and posting ..Ta-Ta

  2. Replies
    1. Its funny thta the thing we made with left overs from the pie was nicer than the pie itself! I love jam and pasties so it seemed like a natural choice!