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Catholic Recipe: Roast Stuffed Pork Fillet

    INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pork fillets
  • salt and freshly ground pepper Stuffing
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6oz chopped onion
  • 3 cups soft white breadcrumbs
  • 4-5 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, savory,
  • perhaps a little sage or rosemary)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper  or
  • potato and apple stuffing (use half the recipe for the Michaelmas Goose Potato Apple Stuffing — See Recipe)
  • 1/2-1 oz butter
  • 2 scant cups chicken stock
  • large needle and cotton string
  • Details

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 2-2 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Ireland

There is a long tradition in Ireland of killing a pig on Martinmas — the eve of St. Martin's Day, November 11. Originally this had pagan origins: the blood was solemnly sprinkled on the doorstep and in all four corners of the house to ward off any nasty evil spirits that might be lurking about. There were also practical reasons, of course, because pigs by now would be plump and flavourful, having fattened on mast all summer.

After the pig was butchered, some of the meat was used as fresh pork and the rest was salted and cured as bacon and stored in oak barrels where it lasted for many months. The head was salted and boiled or made into brawn. The bit I liked best as a girl was the making of the black and white puddings — wonderfully gory!

The pork fillet was usually cooked that evening, often just sliced and fried in butter. Stuffed pork steaks served with lots of Bramley apple sauce were a great favourite also.

DIRECTIONS

1. First make the stuffing. Sweat the onions gently in the butter for 5-6 minutes. When they are soft, stir in the crumbs, herbs and a little salt and pepper to taste. Allow to get quite cold.

2. Trim the pork fillets of fat and gristle. Slit each one down one side and open out, flatten slightly with a mallet or rolling pin and season.

3. Cover one fillet with stuffing and top with the other fillet. Sew the edges with cotton thread.

4. Smear the top with soft butter and roast in a 400° F. oven for about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets. After 25 minutes turn the pork over and baste so that the base browns also.

5. When cooked transfer to a carving plate and allow to rest while you make the gravy. Degrease the pan juices if necessary, add the chicken stock to the roasting pan and bring to the boil, using a whisk to dislodge the caramelised juices from the pan. Simmer for a few minutes, taste and add seasoning if necessary. Slice the pork into thick slices, about 1/2 inch and serve with apple sauce (see below), gravy and lots of crusty roast potatoes.

Recipe Source: Festive Food of Ireland, The by Darina Allen, Kyle Cathie Limited, 1992
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