Sage-smoked Pork Fillet on Polenta

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Ingredients

  • 2 pork fillets, well trimmed
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 6–7 stems of fresh sage
  • a little olive oil

Polenta

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 600 ml/1 pint milk
  • 300 ml/½ pint single cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs, including thyme, sage, chives and a little rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ packet of quick-cook polenta
  • 2–3 tablespoons double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli and Pancetta

  • 12 strips of pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 12 pitted prunes, roughly chopped
  • 2 heads of broccoli, broken into florets

Method

Make stock with the pork trimmings and reduce until syrupy and well-flavoured. Strain and finish by whisking butter into the stock just before serving.

To cook the polenta, put the onion, garlic, milk and cream in a large pan,. Bring to the boil and cook until the onion is softened. Add the herbs. Stirring briskly, add the polenta in a steady stream. Beat well until smooth. Cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture resembles fluffy mashed potato. If the mixture appears too stiff, beat in extra milk. Taste and adjust the seasoning: it should taste herby and slightly sweet. Beat in a little double cream at the last minute and keep warm.

To cook the pork, place the smoker over the gas or electric hob. Strew the rack with sage and heat until a steady stream of smoke is given off. Reduce the heat to keep the smoke constant.

Sit the seasoned fillets on the wire rack and replace the lid. Smoke on one side for 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and smoke on the second side for 3 minutes. Remove from the smoker.

Place the sage in a roasting tin. Brush the fillets with olive oil and place on top of the sage. Roast in a preheated oven at 230°C (450°F) Gas Mark 8 for 5 minutes, then set aside to rest in a warm place for 5–10 minutes.

Cook the pancetta in a dry frying pan until very crisp. Remove from the pan, and add the olive oil. When hot, add the pine nuts and cook until golden. Add the prunes and allow to plump up in the oil. Remove. Add the broccoli and stir-fry until cooked. Stir in the pine nuts and the prunes. Season lightly and sprinkle with the crisp pancetta.

To serve, place the polenta on heated dinner plates. Slice each pork fillet diagonally and arrange overlapping slices over the polenta with a little sauce poured round and the broccoli and pancetta beside.