Welcome back, Potterheads! As some of you may remember, a few weeks ago my husband and I hosted a wizard-themed party welcoming all wizards and magical creatures. I also took this chance to make recipes inspired by the Hogwarts Founders using tea blends from Tea & Absinthe. Last week I posted a recipe for Scottish Rowena Ravenclaw’s Jasmine Tea Cranachan. This week we’ll be heading southwest to the British Fens for Mint Tea Pork Pies inspired by Salazar Slytherin.
Click here to jump to the recipe for Salazar Slytherin’s Mint Tea Pork Pies.
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Tea & Absinthe’s Slytherin Blend is a curiously simple combination of Chinese gunpowder green tea and peppermint leaves. I say “simple” only for the number of ingredients. The flavor is anything but. The gunpowder tea is bold but subtle, refined with slight notes of smoke and metal. Peppermint energizes the brew and yet also sends a gentle chill down your tongue reminiscent of the personalities in the Slytherin Common Room. This is a tea to sip in careful contemplation, perfect for plotting while remembering the cool distinction that sets you apart from Gryffindor’s brazen posturing. That said, this tea would be excellent iced, and pairs delightfully with Peppermint Toads from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.
Slytherin from Fen
Salazar Slytherin is from the British Fenlands, a coastal plain in eastern England. The region reaches into the counties of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Surrounded by water and marshes, it provided an easily defended sanctuary against invading Germanic tribes in post-Roman Britain.That isolation also proved attractive to the Christians who eventually settled and started a number of monasteries. The Fens are actually referred to as the Holy Land of Britain due to the cathedrals that ultimately rose from these monasteries.
I bring this up because it makes Salazar’s distrust of muggles believable as he may have grown up with the understanding that outsiders are dangerous. Clashes over traditions and culture were very likely at this time. Misunderstanding often leads to distrust and resentment. Throw in some good ol’ medieval superstition, and all of a sudden you have these crazy muggles burning grandpa at the stake.
Slytherin’s prejudice of muggle-borns may be born more from a regional, survival-minded fear. That fear, in turn, may have been misinterpreted as pompous superiority by future generations whom only knew the story, but not the context. It’s not those who do not learn history who are doomed to repeat it so much as it is those who do not understand it.
A Certain Disregard for the Rules…
So with this recipe, I wanted to take a traditional local dish that also incorporates Tea & Absinthe’s Slytherin blend. Lincolnshire is best known in the culinary world for their pork sausage and pies. I also found it amusing that Norfolk produces more mint than any other part of the UK. Taking the party food aspect into consideration, I finally decided to make mini pork pies.
Usually, you would make these pies with chopped pork shoulder and bacon before pouring in a mix of gelatin and chicken stock. Due to size and time constraints, I opted to use ground pork. Slytherins may be ambitious, but they are also resourceful. Besides, when have you ever heard of a Slytherin following the rules?
…AND OH MY GOD, SHUT UP POTTERMORE, I’M A RAVENCLAW!
#DontTellMeWhatToDo #Slytherclaw #InARiverInEgypt
I incorporated the tea by carmelizing it into some sweet onion with some butter and bacon fat. I then mixed the onion with the pork and encased it in a tea-based hot water crust before baking it in the oven. The beautiful thing about this crust is that it only looks difficult to do. If you’re plagued with pastry-destroying warm hands like I am, this is the dough of your food sculpting dreams. I’ve used it for a number of my recipes, including dishes inspired by Skyrim and Dragon Age.
So here it is, something ambitious that will reward you for your cunning and resourcefulness. Pork pies and Slytherins are traditionally cold, but I think you’ll discover their true personality when you warm them up a little. Offer up these pies with some Norfolkian mustard at your next gala and you’re bound to make your real friends.
BY THE WAY, I’ve included printable PDFs of the little serving flags pictured in this post.
Download the Slytherin Flags here: Click me.
Ambitious but Resourceful
Salazar Slytherin's Peppermint Pork Pies
Equipment: Teakettle, tea infuser, stovetop, medium saucepan with lid, oven, baking spray, two heat resistant bowls, mini-muffin baking pan with 24 2″ cups, rolling pin, 2″ round cutter, 3″ round cutter, chopstick, pastry brush.
- 3/4 lb ground pork
- 1 large sweet or yellow onion, small diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
(or 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon bacon fat)
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 3 teaspoons Slytherin blend
(or 1 teaspoon gunpowder tea and 2 teaspoons dried peppermint)
- 2 teaspoons dried mint leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 cup lard, shredded
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- kosher salt
Make the tea
- Add the tea leaves to the infuser. Bring the water to a boil in the teakettle and pour it into a measuring cup. Lower in the infuser and let steep approximately 3 minutes.
- Remove the infuser and set the tea aside. You should have approximately 1 cup of tea.
Make the filling
- Heat the butter (and bacon fat) in the medium pot over medium-low heat until hot. Stir in the onion and cover the pot with the lid. Let cook, occasionally stirring, 15-17 minutes or until softened.
- Turn the heat up to medium.Cook the onion uncovered 15-18 minutes, stirring every once so often until they start to stick to the bottom the pan.
- Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of tea, pour in the sugar, and season with kosher salt. Continue cooking while scraping the browned bits from the pan for another 3-5 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed.
- Scrape the onions into a mixing bowl and stir in the dried mint leaves and another pinch or two of kosher salt. Fold in the ground pork until thoroughly incorporated. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill while making the crust.
Make the crust
- Whisk flour and table salt together in a large, heat-resistant bowl. Spray each cup in the muffin pan with baking spray and set aside.
- Clean out the pan you used to caramelize the onion. Pour in the remaining tea, the milk, and the lard. Set it on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Set a separate kettle with extra water to boil.
- Stir the contents of the saucepan. When the mixture just comes to a boil, immediately pour it into the flour mixture and blend with a spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms. Add extra hot water from the kettle if the dough is too dry, extra flour if too wet, until it’s workable enough to roll.
Make the pies
- Preheat the oven to 325° F.
- Pour a little of the boiling water into the other heat resistant bowl and place the dough bowl into it to keep it warm.
- Divide the dough into six portions. Take out a portion and cover the bowl. Roll the portion out on a lightly floured surface and cut circles with the 3″ biscuit cutter. Gently roll each circle a little larger and then use them to line the cups of the muffin tin. Repeat until each cup is lined.
- Drop a tablespoon of pork filling into each cup.
- Roll and cut lids for the pies using the 2″ cutter. Roll the circles slightly larger, the poke and round out a hole in the center of each lid using a chopstick. Place a lid on top of each pie, pressing the pastry together and crimping closed.
- Glaze each pie with beaten egg using the pastry brush and bake in the oven 40-45 minutes, or until golden.
- Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.