Leicestershire Medley Pie, Leicestershire

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The Leicestershire Medley Pie is one of the great traditional pies of Britain, or one version of it – there is a Derbyshire Medley pie that is not a world apart from it, the common ingredients being apple and bacon.
A liking for fruit with meat was more marked in medieval times, and pies of course were favoured in British cooking back then, so we may wonder if this is a survival of a dish created many centuries ago. Another of the ingredients increases the likelihood of that surmise being correct – ginger is used to flavour it.
Short pastry is used for the pie, with either lard or dripping as the fat in it. Alternate layers of meat (bacon mixed with leftover roast pork or beef, or even lamb or venison would do at a pinch) and sliced and cored but not peeled apples are built up in the case, with a liberal seasoning of salt, pepper and powdered ginger. When the layers reach the top beer is poured in to fill up the spaces and the lot is sealed in with a stout lid.
A substantial dish that takes lengthy baking, it is not one often seen these days, which is a pity as it is an interesting link to the tastes of the past – it takes but little imagination to see Friar Tuck or Henry VIII , or any Briton of the extra large variety from a few centuries ago, getting outside such a pie.

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