Naturally, my initial reaction was to respond with both panic and sadness when, as I handed her a plateful of my carefully considering cooking, my sister threw around the words ‘meat feast’. Ordinarily, this very phrase is enough to curl my toes with horror, with its sordid connotations of greasy, mystery-meat laden, late-night pizzas or overly carnivorous Subway subs. However, gladly, upon eating the dish, all of my preconceived fears mercifully seemed to melt away. Remarkably, this recipe seems to administer its admittedly heavy meat content most graciously, not to mention it bearing a far more elegant accompaniment than most dishes characterised with this vulgar expression. I have to concede that the tender, juicy pork loin, stuffed with herby sausage meat and then wrapped in salty parma ham, paired with rich and creamy butter beans is exceedingly delicious, if not rather decadent. Though lacking the British criteria of potatoes and two veg, I think this would make a very acceptable offering as a Sunday roast; pulses are hideously underused and underrated when pinned against the argued versatility of that humble tuber. Perhaps most convincing a validation would be that the whole dish takes only 50 minutes from start to finish.
Stuffed pork fillet with creamed butter beans
FOR THE MEAT
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 400g pork fillet (or pork tenderloin)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 14 slices (2 packets) parma ham
- 2 herby pork sausages (try to find ones made with sage; otherwise just add a small bunch of chopped fresh sage), skin removed
- 30g fresh breadcrumbs
FOR THE CREAMED BUTTER BEANS
- 40g unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml white wine
- 400ml double cream
- 2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 260g young leaf spinach
- Small bunch flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Squeeze lemon juice
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Heat a glug of oil in a large frying pan and add the pork. Fry for 3-4 minutes over a high heat to sear all over, then set the pork aside on a board (leave the pan on the hob).
- Lower the heat under the pan, then add a quarter of the onion and fry for 5 minutes or until it starts to soften. Meanwhile, lay out the parma ham slices on a work surface so each slice is slightly overlapping widthways, making a rectangle the length of the pork. Put the softened onion in a mixing bowl to cool; reserve the frying pan for later.
- Once the onion has cooled, mix with the sausagemeat, sage and breadcrumbs – it’s easiest to use your hands here. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the pork lengthways about three quarters of the way through, then open it out like a book. Top with the stuffing, then sandwich together, packing in the stuffing as best you can. Put the pork on top of the ham, then wrap the ham around to enclose the pork and secure the stuffing.
- Put the pork in a roasting tray, then roast for 20 minutes. After this time, turn the oven down to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas 6, then cook for 15 minutes more or until a digital thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the meat reads 72-75°C (the pork will feel quite firm). Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice.
- Once you’ve turned down the oven for the pork, prepare the beans. Set the reserved frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter with a glug of oil. Add the remaining onion and fry for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and flour, then stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, then turn up the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Meanwhile, wilt the spinach with a small knob of butter in another pan.
- Add the cream to the onions, then the wilted spinach. Stir in the butterbeans to warm through, then taste and season. If your sauce seems too thick, loosen it with any extra cream, wine or just some milk. Finally, stir in the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with the sliced pork.
Recipe adapted from Lottie Covell at Delicious Magazine