This is another dish that has recently converted Paul into loving something he once used to hate – he was always funny with pork until recently.
It’s still not a common visitor in our home but when it does show up, it needs to be special. Hence the stuffing balls – the black pudding and mushroom stuffing balls marries the pork and cabbage together so neatly. The dish is then all brought completely together with a slightly sweet (from the apple), buttery and sage gravy.
The glaze for the pork fillet is something new to me – I’ve nicked the idea from a recent BBC’s The Great British Menu dish, and thought that this would be a good dish to give it a go at home.
If you’ve been umming and arring a lot with pork as your Sunday roast meat, give this a bash – you won’t be disappointed!
200ml apple juice
6 large potatoes
2 or 3 large handfuls of white cabbage, chopped (quantity to your preference)
150g black pudding, de-cased, sliced and then quartered
1 white onion, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, finely sliced
75g bread, crumbed
350g pork fillet
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 chicken stock cube
1 teaspoon of sage, chopped/dried
3 good knobs of salted butter
- Pour the apple juice into a milk pan and bring to the boil before reducing the heat to a middlin’ simmer. You’re looking to reduce this by about half to make an apple juice concentration
- Meanwhile, peel, wash and dice (2cm) the potatoes and place into a pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Continue to boil away for 5 minutes before placing the chopped cabbage in another pan of cold, salted water. After about 5 minutes from the point the cabbage has been boiling, both the potatoes and cabbage should be ready. Drain and leave to one side, immediately sprinkling the potatoes with salt and pepper
- The apple juice should have halved in quantity too by this time. Remove from the heat and leave to one side
- In a frying pan, fry off the black pudding, mushrooms and chopped onions until crispy. Tip in a cold bowl adding the breadcrumbs, and mix thoroughly. Halve the mixture, and divide each half into 3, before rolling each of the 6 blobs into balls. Leave to one side
- Next, preheat the oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6, and to this add a roasting tin with the oil
- While this is preheating, take out the pork fillet and brush over some of the apple juice concentration before seasoning well. Carefully place the glazed fillet in a hot pan with 2 knobs of the butter, and brown off all over – this should take no more than 7 minutes. After this time, brush the fillet with another layer of apple juice concentrate
- Wrap the pork fillet tightly in tin foil and place in a baking tray. Pop the stuffing balls on another baking tray, and then add the potatoes to the roasting tin of oil. Place all 3 items into the oven, with the potatoes on top, and the pork and stuffing in the middle. Set the timer for 20 minutes
- Meanwhile, to prepare the gravy, add the chicken stock and sage to the pan with the remainder of the apple concentrate and add 150ml of water. Add the milk and heat gently on a simmering heat, and leave to do its thing
- With around 10 minutes left on the timer, gently toss the potatoes and return to the oven
- When the timer goes, remove the pork fillet and leave to rest on the side. Keeping the potatoes and stuffing balls in the oven, add the cabbage to a frying pan on a high heat
- After about 4 minutes of frying off the cabbage, remove the potatoes from the oven and add to the frying pan with the cabbage, and toss together before turning off the heat
- Unwrap the fillet from the foil and carefully slice. Pour any juice into the gravy. Bring this altogether by making a bed of the potato and cabbage mix, topped with the pork slices and black pudding stuffing balls. Before pouring over the gravy, melt in the remaining knob of butter before making sure to taste and season (if needed) accordingly.
- This dish does look a bit faffy (and it is) but the trick is to make sure you prepare as much as you can before the pork cooks. The pork is the only majorly time-sensitive element – the other elements are just being heated up in time by the time the pork is done. Even the gravy can be made in advance
- Make sure to exclude as much liquid from the black pudding, mushroom and onion mix as possible when making the balls. If it’s too wet, the balls will fall apart. For this reason, make sure the mushrooms are chopped really small so that there’s little room for them to hold in their moisture
- If you’re not the sort of person who likes sweet with savoury (i.e. apple with pork), feel free to play around with more savoury glazes, for example chillies with a bit of oil, or a bit of cold sesame seed oil followed by rolling the fillet in sesame seeds
- For the eagle-eyed, you will notice there’s only 1 ball in the photo – putting 3 of these bad boys on one plate doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing!