Pork. Yes such a good meat it deserves to be a sentence all of it’s own. I love pork or prok as I’ve often been seen to type on Twitter. Lately I have gone a bit Pork mad. There is a market stall that sells Gloucester Old Spot and if I remember their names I will tell you (one of those moments I realise I should always have a notebook with me). Then there’s my local butcher, Tony who owns Farm 2 Table and uses good local Essex pork from Great Garnetts Farm. In fact his pigs only live about a 20 minute drive to me. Apart from having them live in my garden, it’s hard to get more local.
Oh and I have also been formerly introduced to Iberico ham within the last few months. Just saying those words makes me salivate. My first experience was an Iberico ham and foie gras burger at the Opera Tavern in Covent Garden. A burger I could eat by the bucket load. More recently I have enjoyed the delights of Iberico Chorizo. I’m not into the very spicy chorizo and found these to be a little milder but still packing a lot of flavour.
So this weekend became a bit of a pork fest, especially after a visit to Borough Market. It was one of the few times when I get called up to our head office at London Bridge and the market is actually open. Mind you, I have a feeling Brindisa is always open but then I tend to only walk round when the full market is on. As you will have gathered now, I wandered into Brindisa. I had a great chat with them and tried a few chorizo sausages. After much deliberating I left them with some Iberico chorizo and a Rioja cured chorizo. As they were about to take my money I spied some Iberico ham bones so had a bag of them then told them to throw in a jar of Iberico lard.
Over the next two days I thought about what to do with all of these ingredients. I decided to go, what I call, fairly simple. Sunday morning I rushed out to see Tony the butcher, who wasn’t in, but his colleague helped me. I bought a nice looking piece of Ribeye which took my eye and a Loin of Pork on the bone. I couldn’t wait to get home with my wares after also stopping off to get a bottle of Rioja and some fresh veg
When I say simple, I still think it was. I made a stock out of the ham bones, half a bottle of Rioja, onions, carrots, leeks, thyme, rosemary, black peppercorns and fennel seeds. This would have been about 4 pints of water added to the stock and reduced it down to about half. While that was reducing I started on the pork. I simply sliced into the joint and opened it up. I chopped up the Rioja cured chorizo and mixed it into some butter, okay a lot of butter and spread this over the pork loin, closing it up to sandwich it. I tied it up and cooked it on a high heat to start to get the crackling nice and crispy. I can’t actually remember what gas mark I used, I know one was high, probably 7 and then turned it down to about 4. Those who know me will remember I don’t do detail.
The meat was cooked to perfection, being groin, it was a lovely white in the middle and so moist from the butter and a hint of red where the chorizo was. I cut the crackling off and carved the loin off the bone. Layering strips onto a plate and dribbling the remains of the butter over the meat.
I served this with simple boiled new potatoes and steamed cauliflower & broccoli. The Pork was to remain the star here. Now the stock, no I haven’t forgotten. I made a roux, which I have to say I’m becoming quite good at, and added stock to make a nice thick sauce. I didn’t want it too runny but that’s just my personal preference. How do I describe the sauce, the wine didn’t overpower it as I only used half a bottle and maybe next time I would use a whole bottle but the ham flavour did come through. There was just a hint of cured meat mixed in with the herbs and wasn’t so strong that it overpowered the meat. It actually went really well with the veg and potatoes.
There we have it, a touch of Spain mixed with a bit of Essex. Long may the pig rule.
For the Chorizo & bones, Brindisa at Borough Market. You can follow them on Twitter @Brindisa or contact them via their website http://brindisa.com
Pork Loin was from Wilkin & Sons’ The Lordship Food Hall at Writtle Agricultural College where Tony has his butcher counter. You can contact Tony via Twitter @Tony_farm2table or via his website http://www.farm2table.co.uk
The Pork is raised at Great Garnetts Farm in Essex. You can find out more about them at http://www.greatgarnetts.co.uk They also do a great farmer’s market.
"When I grow up I want to be Simon's dinner"
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