Thursday, March 10, 2011

Porc En Croute Avec Pois Écrasés

In the same way you don't visit Yorkshire to get a sun tan, you don't go there and expect to lose weight. On my week-long visit I consumed* fish and chips three times, a curry and three pies - two of which came with mushy peas.

Pie and peas is the great Yorkshire meal. Classless, simple - you can eat it with a spoon - nutritious, filling and with the exception of Bradford beer festival, (great pie, not enough peas for £3.50) cheap. It's comfort food par excellence. A teatime favourite as well as a staple of football terraces, after-match rugby, village cricket lunches, bonfire night and Christmas eve. I've even eaten it (£1.50) in the grade 1 listed magnificence of Leeds Parish Church. The mushy element is very important - purists will only accept them made from dried peas, soaked with bicarbonate of soda and boiled for hours. You can see the difference above - the lower picture is the tinned variety. But It's the pie that really matters, and a butcher's reputation is only as good as his last porker. There are some heavy hitters in Airedale - Stanforth's, Affer faves Drake and Macefield and Ted Lee in Skipton. Lunds and Herd's further down the valley in Keighley, where people still talk about how good the long-gone Midgely's pies once were. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; If pie and peas was from the Ariége it'd be on the menu of the best restaurants in London.

*not all in one go.


Affer said...

Oh man, you know how to hurt a guy! At 8.00 in the morning, fresh-cooked pies would be taken out of the oven in Ted Lee's kitchen, put in trays, and his girl would carry them (with due reverence) up the town to his shop. The route passed my motorcycle shop, whereupon my mechanics and I would down tools, waylay her and, because she had her hands full with the tray, remove several pies unopposed. Money would be thrust into her apron pocket, and we would return to the workshop to eat them, juices running down our faces! There is just NOTHING like a fresh, warm, Yorkshire pork pie.

Here in Norfolk, the pies made by my local butcher - the excellent Gary Boyce - have a terrific filling; but the pastry......forget it!

TIW said...

It's something to do with cold/hot water pastry isn't it? I'll have to investigate.

And happy Pie Week! (Yes, really).

paul garrard said...

Love mushy peas