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Christmas: Drunken Pork Loin & Cherry trifle

Cherry Trifle

Nuts, fruit and liqueur all scream “Christmas” and this week’s triple-course dinner pushes all those buttons. Start with a pleasingly nutty soup of wild mushrooms and ground walnuts with a dash of sherry, go on to a stuffed loin of pork with crunchy crackling, and end with a deliciously old-fashioned black cherry and maraschino trifle dressed up for the season.

Wild mushroom and walnut soup

25g chanterelle mushrooms

275ml boiling water

75g butter 200g fresh mushrooms, finely chopped (keep three or four for garnish)

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 leek, cleaned and washed

2 bay leaves

1½ tsp fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2l vegetable stock

110g walnuts, finely chopped

75ml cream 75ml dry sherry

1 Tbs lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Wild Mushroom Soup

This is based on Delia Smith’s recipe from her book, Delia’s Happy Christmas. Cover dried mushrooms (use porcini if you can’t find chanterelles) with the boiling water and steep for 30 minutes. In a saucepan, melt 50g butter and add all vegetables, garlic and herbs, and stir for a few minutes over gentle heat. Add dried mushrooms and their soaking water and two litres of stock and simmer very gently for an hour. Strain soup into a large pot, remove bay leaves, and puree the vegetables finely. Clean the pot and return to the heat, adding 25g butter in which you saute the chopped fresh mushrooms for five minutes, stirring. Add the cooked soup, the finely ground walnuts and seasoning and the cream, bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring in the sherry, lemon juice and seasoning towards the end. Garnish with the reserved fresh mushrooms, cut into fine slivers, and a sprig or two of thyme.

Loin of pork with a drunken stuffing of leeks, prunes and mango

2.2kg loin of pork, finely scored and a cavity cut through it

400ml dry cider

275ml vegetable stock

Salt flakes and black pepper

225g prunes, pitted

225g dried mangoes

4 leeks, sliced

100ml cider vinegar

1 Tbs soft brown sugar

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

1 Tbs grain mustard

A glass each of dry white wine, marsala (or sherry), rosé wine

Pork Loin with a Drunken Stuffing

This is loosely based on a Smith recipe from the same book. Ask your butcher to chine the joint (cut through the bones to make it easier to manage when serving), score the skin, and then make a slit from one side almost all the way through so that you can insert stuffing the length of the roast. Make a confit stuffing by simmering spiced leeks in butter, then adding 100ml cider and 100ml cider vinegar, heating and simmering. Add pitted, sliced prunes, mangoes cut into a small dice, the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg and mustard, and simmer until the fruit is soft and the liquid has almost cooked away. Cool this, then insert it in the cavity, pushing it down with the round end of a table knife. If possible, sew up the hole. Rub salt onto the skin, season the whole joint with salt and pepper, and roast in a pre-heated 240OC oven for 25 minutes high up in the oven. Lower heat to 190OC, and cook for two hours. Don’t baste it and do not at any stage let any liquid make contact with the crackling. The pork is cooked when you insert a skewer into the thickest part and the juices run clear. Make a sauce by first deglazing the roasting pan with 100ml of dry cider and straining it into a saucepan. Add a glass of rosé and 200ml dry cider and reduce to a syrup. Add a glass of dry white wine and reduce to a syrup again. Add a glass of marsala (or sherry, jerepigo or other sweet wine) and reduce yet again. Stir in 1 Tbs of mustard, simmer and season with salt and pepper. Strain before serving alongside the pork (not on the crackling). Make a second sauce of horseradish and mustard by stirring together 4 Tbs horseradish sauce and 2 Tbs each of grain mustard and crème fraiche. Serve a dollop with the pork, using strips of crackling as a garnish.

Cherry Trifle

1 cherry loaf cake

1 tin black cherries

1 jar maraschino cherries on their stems

½ cup brandy

½ cup cherry liqueur or similar

750ml custard

250ml cream whipped to soft peaks

Here’s my version of my late mother’s old-fashioned Christmas trifle. You can fling this together without stress by buying the cake and ready-made custard, as it’s the fruit and liquor that make a trifle. Break the cake into small pieces and put them in a glass bowl. Mix the brandy and liqueur together and drizzle all over the cake. If it still seems too dry, be brave and repeat. Add the cherries (mostly around the edges so that you can see them through the glass) and the liquor from their tin. Leave to steep for an hour or more. Spoon over the custard so that it reaches the edges. Leave to firm a little. Whip the cream and spoon over the top. Decorate with chocolate bits, in strips, leaving white spaces for the cherries. Just before you take it to the table, dot the white strips with maraschinos on their stems.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Linda says:

    The trifle looks to-die-for…and wow, that pork. I love the idea of a drunken stuffing! Lovely.

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