When you mention PIE to many British people what usually comes to their mind is a meat pie. Fruit pies are more of an American thing. So when some people of British descent ended up in Australia many years ago, they took their love for meat pie with them. Then when there was a large influx of people of Chinese descent into Australia to work on constructing the railroads, the two cuisines merged and one of the results was the sweet and sour pork pie.
I enjoy both types of foods so I thought a sweet and sour pork pie would be an interesting thing to try.
I found a basic recipe on line but after talking with my sister we made a number of changes to it that we thought would make it better and the following is the result.
Step 1: Pork Cubes
The original recipe called for ground pork but I thought I would prefer whole chunks of meat. So I started with pork chops and cut them up into cubes, removing most of the fat and the bones.
Besides pork the rest of the ingredients are as follows.
2 poundsground pork or 2 pounds of chops or assorted cuts. (you could use pork butt or shoulder and cube it. I used chops. If you use cubed meat you’ll need to start off the browning with some oil.)
1 1/2 cupchopped onion
20 ouncescan crushed pineapple, undrained (I added a second can of chunk pineapple)
1/4 cupcider vinegar
1 teaspoonsalt (Original recipe called for 2 teaspoons but you should watch out for too much salt—you have soy sauce which is also salty,)
2 teaspoonsdry mustard
1 teaspoon of Garlic
1/4 teaspooncloves (I used ground)
2 tablespoonssoy sauce
1 cupchopped green pepper (Or red peppers)
1 Pastry for a 2 crust, 10 inch pie
Step 2: Start Cooking
I am going to give you a little bit different directions than what I originally used. This is a learn as you go pie and I found some improvements while doing the original one.
I added some meat tenderizer and sprinkled it over the pork, this is completely optional but something that I prefer.
Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, or a vegetable oil, in your skillet and also try adding some of the vinegar, maybe half, so it can flavor the meat. You could even add some of your dry spices here if you want the pork to have more flavoring. If you have time let the pork marinade for an hour or so with the vinegar and the tenderizer. Again its totally optional.
My original recipe directions called for cooking the onion and peppers together with the meat but I think you will have better success if you cook the meat by itself. When its done, (not pink inside anymore) add the flower and brown it with the meat. If you use ground pork you will need to drain the fat off but if you used cubed meat and cut off most of the fat there will be very few drippings. Adding the flour to it will make it a sort of gravy. The cubes will tend to stick together as they cook, (just like hamburger does) so just break them apart and keep them stirred until they are cooked through. When its done cooking remove the pork and put it in a bowl until the other ingredients are done. If you taste your pork here you might be tempted to eat most of it now, try to resist and save it for the pie.
In the skillet picture here you see the onion and the pepper cooking along with the pork, but like I mentioned above cook them separately.
Step 3: Cook the Rest
Cut up your onion, I used both red and white to give it a little color, and also your pepper. I have frozen peppers from my garden so I used those. Put it all in your skillet and start it cooking.
Measure out your dry ingredients and mix them a little. I also added a teaspoon of garlic powder which was not on the list but I like the flavor it adds.
So that should be the salt, pepper, garlic, dry mustard, ginger and cloves all together. A note about cloves, its a very strong spice and if your not to crazy about it as a flavor you might want to cut it back a little.
After the onions and peppers get cooking, (simmering) go ahead and add the dry ingredients and mix them in. You might want to stand back a little an not be over the skillet when you add them because when that powered cloves hits the mix its really powerful at first. Also add in your Soy Sauce and the rest of the cider vinegar.
Let it simmer until the onions are soft.
Step 4: Add the Pineapple
When the onion and pepper mix look cooked, add the Crushed Pineapple. Crushed is what the original recipe called for but I found that it makes the filling mix a little mushy so I would suggest that in addition you add an extra half a can of chunk pineapple. This way you will get actual pieces of fruit mixed with the pork. And adding more pineapple should make the filling taste a little more fruity which is a good thing. Add just the pineapple and not the juice. You can cut back on the crushed pineapple by half if you think it might be to much.
The pineapple doesn't have to be cooked so once you add it just heat the mix up to simmering again and then immediately add the pork you set aside and mix it all together. Again just heat it until it simmers and then back the heat off to low and just keep it warm.
My picture shows me adding the pineapple to the mix with the meat in it. That is how I originally made mine but it ended up being too mushy. I think you will like it better if the filling mix has some body to it. Also in my first recipe it called for cooking the filling until most of the liquid is gone, but again I think that is overcooking it. You are going to bake this whole mix in the pie so to preserve the flavors, the less skillet cooking the better, in my opinion.
Step 5: Make the Pie
With your filling mix keeping warm on the stove make your pie crust, either from scratch, a crust mix, or premade. I chose the mix.
Treat your pie crust the same way as you would for any fruit pie. Line the pie plate and then add the filling mix. There should be enough filling mix for 2 pies.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. When its done you have complete meal in one dish.
I added a little sweat and sour sauce on the top of my slice to add color and a little more flavor.
This is a definitely different kind of pie, not one you will find in the store freezer, at least not yet! You will find that Its even good for a quick lunch snack.