Ham hock, snail and wild garlic pie

Ham hock, snail and wild garlic pie

Mark Hix On Baking
Jason Lowe

We tend to associate cooking snails with France and Spain but there is a snail eating culture in Britain which dates back about 2000 years, although there are no specific British recipes for snails like in France. I've used them in various ways with, say, wild rabbit cooked in cider, as a soup garnish and in pies like this. Though you can purify your own garden snails, it’s a bit fiddly, so I suggest you use bought cooked ones here.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 700-1 g-kg ham hock
4 medium onions, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
70g butter
60g flour
100ml white wine
16-20 plump snails, cooked and shells removed
a handful wild garlic, chopped, (or garlic chives)
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
85g beef suet, shredded
60g butter, chilled and coarsely grated
150-170ml water
plain flour, for dusting


  1. Place the ham hock in a large pan with half the onions, the peppercorns and bay leaf. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1½ –2 hours, or until tender. Remove the hock from the pan, reserving the liquid, and leave to cool. Once cool, remove and discard any skin and remove the meat from the bone. Reserve the bone, cut the meat into rough 3 cm chunks and put to one side. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, measure out a litre and add to a pan over a low heat to keep hot.
  2. Finely chop the remaining onion halves, add to a heavy-based saucepan with the butter and cook for 2–3 minutes until soft. Add the flour and stir well. Gradually add the white wine, stirring to avoid any lumps. Then add the reserved ham stock, stirring, bit by bit. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. The sauce should be quite thick by now – if not, continue simmering for a little longer. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little. Add the ham hock meat, snails and garlic and season to taste. Fill a large pie dish with the mixture.
  3. For the pastry, mix the flour, salt and suet together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub with your fingertips until you have a fine breadcrumb-like consistency. Mix in the water to form a smooth dough, then knead for a minute.
  4. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about a 7 mm thickness. Trim until about 2 cm larger all the way round than the rim of your pie dish. Place the ham bone in the centre of the pie. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg, make a slit in the centre for the bone and lay the pastry on top of your pie, pressing the egg-washed edges onto the rim of the dish. Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg and leave to rest in a cool place for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve at once.
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