To complete the dish
- Preheat oven to 150°C fan-forced (170°C conventional).
- Using paper towel, pat the pork dry then fry on all sides to seal and set aside.
- Place the fennel seeds into a mortar and pestle and grind them until roughly crushed. Combine the seeds with oregano, salt and pepper to create a spice mix.
- Take handfuls of the spice mix and press it evenly onto all sides of the pork until it is completely coated.
- Place the pork into a cast iron dutch oven, then add the tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, garlic and fennel. Place the lid on and cook in the oven for five hours, turning the pork over halfway through cooking. After five hours, if the pork pulls away easily with tongs, it is ready. Otherwise, leave it in the oven for a further 30 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven and transfer to a wooden board. Using two forks, pull the pork apart into thick chunks and set aside.
- Discard the bay leaves and strain the vegetables from the liquid (retaining both). Place the vegetables into a food processor and blend until smooth, then add to the pulled pork and stir to combine. Cover and allow the pork to cool, then set aside in the fridge overnight.
- Strain the remaining liquid through a muslin-lined cheesecloth and place into a jar to set aside in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, when the oil and fat from the pork has solidified at the top of the jar, use a spoon to gently remove and discard the fat layer.
- In salted boiling water, boil the sweet potato until tender. Drain and mash the sweet potato with butter, 2 tablespoons of the fennel fronds and 1 tablespoon of the pork juices (slightly warmed), then set aside to cool completely.
- Position your oven baking rack in the lowest oven rack, and while the oven is still cold, place a pizza stone on top (see tips at the end of this recipe).
- Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional) using the bottom heat function (if you have it).
- Unroll one sheet of pastry and using a 26cm round plate as a template, cut a circle. Line the spring form tin with the pastry circle, gently pushing the pastry into the base and sides. Trim the pastry edges leaving a 1-2cm overhang, then set it aside in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove the tin from the freezer, then place a pie funnel in the centre of the pastry base. Evenly spread the sweet potato around the funnel on the base of the pastry and top it with 700g of the cooled pulled pork and fennel mixture (this recipe makes more than you need for one pie – please see tips).
- Unroll the second sheet of pastry and using a 21cm plate as a template, cut a circle. Cut a cross in the middle of the circle to fit the pie funnel. Cover the filling with the pastry circle, then fold the edges of the pastry base (the 1-2cm overhang) up over the top and decorate it as you like with the remaining pastry offcuts. Place into the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
- Once chilled, glaze the top of the pie with beaten egg yolk and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
- Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove it from the spring form pan and serve.
This recipe will make more pork than you need for the pie, but that’s great – it’s perfect to use in other dishes! Simply freeze your leftover pulled pork in portions in vacuum seal bags and use them later either stirred through pasta as a sauce, as a pizza topping, as a ravioli filling, or as meat for tacos. To reheat the pulled pork from frozen, bring a pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat and add the frozen pork in the sealed bag to the water. Leave it for 20-30 minutes to defrost in the water, then heat as required.
We recommend cooking your pie in an oven with a pizza stone to ensure the base of the pastry cooks perfectly. If you don’t have a pizza stone (they’re not expensive and can be bought from kitchen supply stores and Bunnings), we recommend blind baking your pastry prior to adding the filling.
ALWAYS heat your pizza stone up in a cold oven – it will crack if you place it into the oven once it’s heated.
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