Happy New Year – get a little pork into your life.
This may become a new year ritual: the recipe that says “up yours” to new year resolutions.
This year there is also a Christmas link: I made this in a fit of madness after Christmas shopping with my girlfriend.
The recipe is pork wellington, the porcine cousin of the beefy duke.
The recipe I am about to give you made a wellington that tasted good but looked terrible.
You see, I have been going through a pastry phase recently. The only problem is that I only know how to make shortcrust pastry and pastry for pasties (is that shortcrust anyway?).
So when I flicked open a recipe for beef wellington to inquire about the pastry and read “puff”, I decided, in the proud tradition of the men in my family, to ignore the given advice.
So I made shortcrust and it was a disaster. The pastry tasted good but tore while I was making the bloody thing and then disintegrated as soon as I tried to cut the finish article.
The blessing was an excellent piece of pork from Chadwicks Butchers in Balham, near my girlfriend’s flat. The shop was heaving when I got there, mainly from people having pre-ordered their meat. A good sign that it is popular, I thought.
I got a nice, sweet pork loin for just over a fiver that was enough to feed two of us easily.
It was a bit smaller than a traditional beef wellington, which should feed about four to six people.
The rest of the recipe I made up, which is a good sign of growing confidence in the kitchen. All you need are a couple of leeks, an apple, the pork and the right sort of pastry.
Feeds two (fatties)
Packet of puff pastry.
One pork loin, around a pound (454g) or so.
One leek, finely chopped.
One apple, finely chopped and set aside in some water. Variety optional but needs to be ripe/sweet.
Salt and pepper to season.
One egg, beaten, for eggwash
Trim the pork loin of any white fat and loose flesh so it is a regular shape. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat some oil in a frying pan over a gentle heat and sear the loin on each side for two minutes over a medium heat, until lightly browned all over.
Reduce the heat, add the chopped leek to the pan and fry without colouring until soft.
Allow both to cool otherwise they may cock up the pastry.
Heat the oven to 180C.
Rollout/unravel the puff pastry. You need a rectangle long enough and wide enough to roll up the pork loin.
The wellington is made upside down so start with a narrow wedge of leeks down the middle of the pastry.
Pat-dry the apple with kitchen towel and place a layer on top of the leeks.
Finally add the pork loin.
Starting with the long sides wrap the wellington tightly, trimming the pasty if needed.
Once done, transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment – but this time the right way up so that the pork is at the bottom.
Wash with the egg wash.
Place in the oven until golden brown, probably around 35 minutes. The pork should be cooked but still moist.
Serve with mustard mash and green veg.