Put pork on your fork
Delicious ideas for cooking a great Suffolk product
ONE of the most pleasant sights is driving down the A12, and other roads around, Blythburgh near Southwold, and seeing the contented herds of properly free-ranging pigs happily wallowing, grazing and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Apparently pigs are a match for chimpanzees in certain intelligence tests and are smarter than we give them credit for. If we care for the food we eat, and if we choose to be carnivorous, then we have to give more thought to where our meat comes from and, even more, the quality of life livestock has while it is fattened for our plates.
Those energetic pigs we see snuffling around are bred and reared by the Butler family for their famous Blythburgh Free Range Pork, one of Suffolk’s best exports, sought after by many of the best restaurants. To tempt the family and to celebrate Easter come Sunday April 1, I think we’ll be enjoying a perfect roast lunch, an Italian-inspired Pork Wellington, a hearty yet smart dish enough for this special occasion, using the tender tenderloin fillet, stuffed with sweet apricots and a savoury duxelles of earthy mushrooms and lentils, wrapped up in savoy cabbage and golden puff pastry.
IDEAS FOR SUFFOLK PORK
Rissoles - mince pork shoulder with breadcrumbs, onion and eating apple, along with generous seasoning, ground mace and sage, before rolling into golf ball size and oven baking in a rich Aspall cyder gravy. They eat well with mustard mash and buttered greens and a spiced apple relish on the side.
Home Hog Roast – take a half or whole boned and tied pork shoulder, score it with a clean Stanley knife through the skin about 1cm apart. Rub in a mix of thyme, fennel seeds, sea salt and cracked black pepper, blast the skin for 30 minutes in a 240°C oven, then cover with double foil tightly, turn down to 140°C and cook for 4 – 6 hours according to size until it falls apart with two forks.
Cassoulet - thick pieces of pork loin and pork belly, smoked pork sausage, pancetta bacon in chunks, all browned first and cooked down slowly with lots of onions, root vegetables, tomatoes, cannellini or haricot beans, garlic, herbs, bay, chicken stock and white wine, then topped with a cheesy parmesan and breadcrumb crust, gratinated under the grill.
Spicy Stew - this recipe combines all those deep spicy tagine-style flavours we love. If using fresh pork, quickly stir-fry thin strips in hot oil with chopped ginger, garlic and red chilli. The tomato and onion base is cooked down with chickpeas, lemon and garlic plus lots of those warming North African spices and once cooked down, the stir-fried pork or the shredded roast pork is added to heat through with lots of green herbs (coriander, mint and flat parsley). Serve with couscous and yoghurt.
Jambalaya - Cajun-style rice pilaff, this incorporates chorizo sausage and roast pork in small chunks and the grains slowly simmered with deep Creole spices, red pepper, celery, carrot, onions, chilli peppers and good chicken stock and finished with prawns and flat parsley.
Asian pulled pork sliders - Oriental hamburgers by any other name, thin batons of cucumber, carrot and radish are fresh-pickled in a hot marinade of rice vinegar, sugar and salt for a few minutes to soften, while you toss shredded roast pork over a medium heat with hoisin and Thai chilli sriracha sauces. Both elements are then filled into brioche rolls and finished with spicy mayonnaise. Mackenzie – David events Please contact Rebecca on 01986 893991 or email email@example.com
‘If we care for the food we eat, and if we choose to be carnivorous, then we have to give more thought to where our meat comes from and, even more, the quality of life livestock is destined to have while it is fattened for our plates’
150g plain flour
Drizzle of white truffle oil (optional)
6 inner savoy cabbage leaves, destalked
2 handfuls of wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 pouch Merchant Gourmet puy lentils
Sea salt and black peppermill
1 whole thick Blythburgh pork tenderloin
1 ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
Handful of soft dried apricots, halved
Egg-wash of 2 egg yolks and a splash of milk, whisked together
To make the pancakes, whisk the first three ingredients with the truffle oil, then into a hot oiled frying pan over medium-hot hob, pour a small ladle of batter, swirl around well, cook until the underside is browned, flip over and cook on the other side. Remove the pancake onto a plate and repeat until the mixture is all used.
Soften the cabbage leaves in boiling water until wilted, drain well and set aside. Sauté the mushrooms in a good knob of butter and a glug of oil in a hot frying pan until browned and softened. Drain, mix with the lentils in a bowl and season lightly to taste. Cut off the thin end of the tenderloin to double over the middle part, to give an even width to the joint. Unroll the pastry and make sure the meat fits so it will wrap properly later, shortening if needs be.
Take a hot frying pan on a high heat, rub the pork with oil and brown all over, turning regularly. Remove and cool for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cut down length of partly-cooked pork to halfway, open slit, lay in halved apricots and season to taste. Set aside. Take pastry and lay pancakes and cabbage leaves out onto it, creating a filling area with an inch border all round to suit the size of the pork. Spread the mushroom-lentil stuffing over the cabbage . Finally place the stuffed tenderloin on the long edge at the start of the filling. Bring over the sides of the pastry to cover the ends, leaving just an inch overlap on the tenderloin. Brush the overlap with egg-wash. Roll up the tenderloin with the pastry and when nearly wrapped, brush the inside of the flap with egg-wash to stick it on to the pastry roll. Place on an oiled baking sheet with the seam underneath and brush all over with egg-wash, slicing inch-apart slits in the pastry to vent steam as it bakes. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes approximately, until well-risen, golden-brown and cooked through in the centre (a digital thermometer probed in the middle should read above 75°C).