Pork en Croute with Spicy Cabbage Stuffing

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When out doing a spot of last minute Christmas shopping with Mr Birdie we found Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake’ for a bargainous £3! I spent a lot of the Christmas holidays perusing the recipes. One of the recipes I spotted was this pork en croute recipe which I thought sounded interesting. When food shopping just before the New Year I spotted some pork fillet which was reasonably priced so snapped it up. This weekend I decided to try it out.

It is the first time I have tried anything savoury pastry based and this ambitious! I have to say I thought there was a point during the making of it that I thought it would all end up going horribly wrong but I was pleasantly surprised. As you can see from the photo above I did have a few cracks and sadly a ‘soggy bottom’ but for a first attempt I was pretty pleased. I used the flaky pastry recipe from Ruth Clemens ‘The Pink Whisk’ blog which you can find here. I found it was just the right amount of pastry with enough left over to decorate it. I served it as a Sunday roast accompanied by roast potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips and Brussels sprouts. The bonus of this recipe is that it can be prepared beforehand and can stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Ingredients:

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Pastry:
300g plain flour
225g butter (cold diced)
1 teaspoon salt
6-8 tablespoons cold water
1 egg (beaten)

Filling:
50g butter
200g cabbage (quartered, cored and finely shredded)
2 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
125ml double cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon English mustard
1 large fillet of pork (approximately 600g, trimmed)

Method:
1) Begin by making your pastry. Dice the cold butter into small pieces. Use a plate to slice the butter and add a spoonful of the flour for the pastry to it. This will help it to stop sticking.

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2) Add the butter to the flour and start to rub it in with your fingertips. Only rub it in half way so that you are left with little lumps of butter.

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3) Add the salt and then start to add the water, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Mix it together using the blade of a table knife until it just comes together without being crumbly.

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4) Lightly knead the pastry in the bowl to form a ball. Then wrap it in cling film or a freezer bag and place it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

5) When your pastry is chilled you can start to prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 5.
6) Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the cabbage and water, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes.

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7) Add the cream, spices and mustard and simmer slowly for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

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8) Split the pork fillet down one side and open out flat (take care not to cut the whole way through). Season with salt and pepper. Add the stuffing along the length of the park and fold the meat over, bringing the sides together and tucking the ends in (I found this a bit of a struggle and had to make a second attempt. I had to flatten out the pork with a rolling pin to be able to fit all the stuffing in).

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9) Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and lay the pork on top. Bring up the ends of the pastry and overlap them on top of the meat. Trim to neaten. Turn the parcel over so that the smooth side of the pastry is on top.

10) Re-roll the pastry trimmings, cut out leaves and stick to the top with some of the beaten egg.

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11) Brush the beaten egg over the exposed pastry and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, reducing the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6 for the final 30 minutes.

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12) Enjoy with your choice of accompaniment!

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