Fillet of Pork In Pastry

This is a fine and beautiful dish to set before your friends, let alone a king.

Ingredients

  • a 450 g/1 lb fillet of pork
  • dry mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • butter and oil
  • several large handfuls of fresh green herbs (thyme, parsley, chives, tarragon, chervil etc)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 125 ml/4floz full cream milk
  • 125 ml/4floz single cream
  • 450 g/1 lb best pork sausage meat
  • 70 g/ oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 4-6 slices of cooked ham
  • 1 egg and a little milk for egg wash

For the Pastry

  • 240 g/ oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g/4 ½ oz butter
  • 200 ml/7floz sour cream
  • ½ tbsp white wine vinegar or brandy

Method

Make the pastry a day in advance. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Melt the butter very, very gently until liquid but not warm (if warm it hardens the dough). Mix into the flour with the other ingredients using a spatula until all is smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each piece out on a floured board until as thin as possible, then place them neatly on top of each other. Fold into three as you would a letter. Turn the pastry and fold again the other way. Wrap in greaseproof paper and a cloth. Refrigerate.

Rub the fillet of pork with mustard, salt and pepper. Fry briskly in butter with a drop of oil, browning rapidly all over. Remove from the heat. Process any herbs you are using (watercress and spinach leaves can be used as well) with the garlic, milk and the cream to form a purée. Mix with the sausage meat in a bowl, add the breadcrumbs and season to taste. The sausage meat mixture should be bright green, so do not stint on the herbs.

Roll out the pastry to an oblong that is 2.5 cm/1 in longer than the fillet and about three times as wide. Spread the sausage meat mixture over the dough, leaving a margin of 2.5 cm/1 in all round. Lay the sliced ham on top. Place the fillet in the middle and wrap the pastry round it to form a parcel. Moisten the lap-overs with egg wash and press the ends firmly together to seal. Turn on to an oiled baking tray so the join is on the bottom. Paint with egg wash all over and pierce with a sharp knife in several places to allow any steam to escape. Paint again with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 for about 45 minutes.

When ready remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving into fairly thick slices.

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