Monday, 2 January 2012


There is no crocodile in this pie. When I was growing up we didn't have turkey for Christmas - instead we had a couple of chickens and a shoulder of pork, with a large ham cooked to add to the leftovers for Boxing Day. We also had the usual accompaniments of stuffing balls, chipolatas and bacon rolls.  Even though there could be 10-12 people around the table there was always a lot left over after Boxing Day and crocodile pie was my Mum's way of using them all up. I was a very trusting child and when Mum told me that the pie was made from the crocodiles at the end of our garden I believed her (crocodiles being very common in Essex) but when I began helping her with the cooking I was initiated into its mysteries.

It is very difficult to give quantities for this as it all depends on the amount of leftiover meat you have - you can also use up those cold chipolatas, bacon rolls and stuffing balls. As a rough guide try and have equal amounts of white chicken meat, dark chicken meat/pork/game and ham. Mince or lightly food process half the meat with an onion and chop the rest into small dice. Combine the meats in a large bowl with a good sprinkling of dried thyme and sage and a grind of black pepper.

Traditionally the next stage is to make up some packet chicken and leek soup but alternatively you can make up a sauce by cooking together a tablespoon of flour and butter and stirring in a pint of chicken stock and milk. Add enough of the sauce/soup to the meat to bind it together and make a moist filling.

Line a shallow pie tin with shortcrust pastry, add the filling, and cover with more pastry. Decorate appropriately and glaze with egg. Cook at 190 for 45 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Crocodile pie is traditionally served with mashed potatoes, carrot and sprouts. Crocodile never tasted so good....

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