Pork and Fennel Pie with Brussel Sprout Salad

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I love making pastry and this savoury shortcrust was one of the best I’ve ever worked with. It was so smooth and easy to roll and lift into the dish. And once I finally got to eating the pie, it was delicious! The fennel seeds worked really well.

I was so excited to make a pie in my new pie dish, I love the little bird steam release and the blue colour is beautiful. It’s also the first time in my last 10 years of baking that I have real baking weights instead of rice! So exciting!

I had such a nice day preparing this pie, it was a cold but sunny winter day and I took my time preparing the pastry, slow cooking the pork and taking lots of photos. I’m still figuring out the best time of day to take photos in my new house.

I haven’t eaten brussel sprouts since i was a kid and I don’t have the best memory of that experience so I wanted to try them again but in a fresher way. I love eating a fresh crunchy salad with rich hot foods so I thought this would work well. And it did! I used roasted almonds in the salad because that’s all I had at home but I would have rathered pecans. I also made a swede and potato mash to go with it, delicious!

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Ingredients

1kg diced pork neck

1/3 cup (50g) plain flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large leek, white and pale green part chopped coarsely

1 large carrot, chopped coarsely

1 stick celery, trimmed, chopped coarsely

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

11/3 cups (330ml) chicken stock

2 tablespoons chopped fennel tops

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

1 egg, beaten lightly

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

Fennel Pastry

3 cups (450g) plain flour

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

200g butter, chopped

2 eggs

1/4 cup (60ml) iced water, approximately

Brussel Sprout Salad

About 10 brussel sprouts, thinly sliced on mandolin

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced on madolin

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced on madolin

Handful of parsley leaves

Handful of dill sprigs

Handful of roasted and chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts or almonds

 Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and Pepper

Method

1. Toss pork in flour; shake away excess. Heat oil in large saucepan; cook pork, in batches, until browned; remove from pan.

2. Add leek, carrot, celery and fennel to pan; cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Return pork to pan with stock; bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, 11/2 hours. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in fennel tops and mustard; season to taste, cool.

3. Meanwhile, for the pastry, process flour, seeds, butter and salt to taste until crumbly. Add eggs and enough of the water to make ingredients just come together. Knead pastry on floured surface until smooth, enclose with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Oil a deep 24cm pie dish (1.5 litre/6 cups).

5. Roll half the pastry between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line dish. Press pastry into side; trim edge. Prick base with fork. Cover pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice. Bake 15 minutes. Remove paper and beans, bake a further 10 minutes or until browned. Cool.

6. Spoon pork mixture into pastry case. Brush edge of pastry with egg. Roll remaining pastry until large enough to cover top of dish, place over filling; pinch edges together, trim. Brush with egg; sprinkle with seeds. Cut several steam holes in pastry.

7. Place pie on oven tray; bake about 30 minutes or until browned.

8. For the salad combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Pile all the salad ingredients on a plate, pour over the dressing and sprinkle over the nuts. Serve.

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