Our default Sunday lunch is Roast Chicken and John is the one who makes this weekly treat, served with Yorkshires and roasted root vegetables (already blogged) but last week, I fancied a change and had seen this recipe in a magazine. The pork is fabulous: the meat is moist and succulent and the stuffing, flavoured with sage, prunes and apples, is simply sublime. The finishing touch is the wonderful crispy Parma ham that is the wrapping to this rather wonderful gift of a lunch. Definitely put this one on your Sunday lunch list – you won’t regret it!!!
Serves 6 – 8
What you need…
1 x baking tin, lined with baking parchment
Knob of butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 medium Bramley apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
Sausagemeat from 3 pork sausages
50g ready-to-eat dried prunes, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
2 x 450g pork fillets
8 slices Parma ham
for the gravy
300ml boiling water from the kettle
1 x chicken stockpot (I use Knorr)
2 tablespoons flour
100g chicken gravy granules
200ml apple juice
A good slosh of Marsala wine
Sea salt and black pepper
What to do…
Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.
First, make the stuffing. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat, add the onion and sauté for 1 minute. Pop on the lid and sweat over a low heat for 15 minutes until soft. Add the apple and stir for a few moments. Set aside.
Put the sausagemeat, prunes and sage into a bowl. Season and then add the onion and apple. Stir to thoroughly incorporate.
Cover a large board with cling film. Place the pork fillets on top and then cover them with cling film. Take a rolling pin and bash the fillets until they are roughly one third thinner than when they started. Remove the cling film and spread the stuffing on one fillet, placing the other one on the top of the stuffing.
Onto your baking tin, lay eight slices of Parma ham, slightly overlapping and sit the fillets on the top so they lay across the ham. Roll up like a roulade so that the Parma ham is sealed underneath. My Parma ham kept breaking up so I produced more of a patchwork effect but that didn’t seem to spoil the overall appearance, so just go with the flow.
Pop your pork into the oven and roast for about 1 hour, until crispy and cooked through. Transfer to a warmed serving plate to rest.
Whilst your pork is cooking, turn your attention to the gravy. First, make your stock by using a balloon whisk to dissolve the stockpot into the boiling water. Into a hot saucepan tip the flour and then, over a high heat, gradually tip in the stock, thoroughly whisking in each addition before adding any more. Once all the stock is in, pour in the apple juice. This then, was the end of Mary’s recipe. We however thought that the gravy was too sweet and a little light on body so we tweaked as follows: tip the gravy granules into a large jug and then whisk in some of the hot stock/apple juice mixture. Gradually add all the liquid to the granules, whisking as you go and then pour it all back into the saucepan. Bring to the boil and then slosh in some Marsala. Taste. Season and add more Marsala to taste – pretty damned good!!!
Serve your pork in slices with the gravy – absolutely delightful and very, very moreish!
The pork itself is dead easy. As you can see though, we struggled a bit with the gravy. For us, Mary’s version was too sweet. We were however very happy with the tweaked version which was a rich and smooth with a gentle sweetness from the apple juice. My advice would be to make the pork following the instructions and then to make your own favourite gravy, adding a little apple juice to it!