Poached Pork Fillet Roulade on a Polenta Fritter topped with Pepperoni Sauce

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Published on: August 3, 2012
 

Out of all four courses I made for my dinner party, this was the one that required the most work, both in prep time and cooking.  The result however, was more than worth it.  After a few courses of lighter, subtle flavours I wanted to do something that had a lot of strong, meaty flavours and this dish has it in spades.  I didn’t want to completely destroy everyone’s taste buds though, so I’ve added a good bit of citrus to cut through it all and keep flavours fresh.

I had initially planned to make the roulade stuffing out of cream, pistachio and fennel.  But once again, it had to be lactose free.  So out went the cream (for obvious reasons) and the pistachio, because I felt it was giving the meat too a dry texture.  I replaced the stuffing with baby fennel, avocado, basil and orange (zest with some of the juice).  The aniseed of the baby fennel with the citrus from the orange would help the meat stand out from the pepperoni sauce, while the avocado would provide a little fatty moisture to keep the meat from drying out.

I paired the meat with a polenta fritter to give the dish a bit of starch, firm, not too strong in taste but crispy.  I then added a broccoli puree and some charred yellow peppers.  You will notice from my photographs that my peppers are not very charred and that’s because I was pressed for time, otherwise they would have been done properly.  The veg just gives the dish a bit of variation, the yellow peppers add colour and sweetness, while the broccoli puree pairs nicely with the meat.

I’ve split the Pepperoni sauce out from this recipe as I will reuse it for other dishes. 

Ingredients (serves 4):

Pork Roulade (30mins prep, 15mins cook time):

600g Pork fillet

3 Baby fennel bulbs

1 Medium hass avocado

1 Large orange

Handful of basil

 

Polenta Fritter (10mins prep, 1 hour cook time):

125g Course grain polenta

500ml Chicken stock

Extra virgin olive oil

 

Broccoli Puree + Veg (10mins prep, 15mins cook time):

1 Head of broccoli

300ml Chicken stock

4 Sage leaves

1 Yellow bell pepper

 

Pepperoni Sauce

 

Method:

For the Roulade:

1.  Start by cutting through the middle of the pork fillet (but not all the way through) and open it out.  If the fillet is still thick enough, make another cut from the center to edge – keeping the thickness even.

2.  With the fillet cut and laid out to a similar thickness, place it on a large chopping board then lay some cling film on top of the fillet.  Now bash the fillet with a rolling-pin until the entire fillet is about 2cm thick all over.

3.  Roughly cut up the baby fennel, avocado and basil.  Zest the orange while carefully avoiding the bitter pith, then cut in half and juice one half.  Add all the ingredients together and puree in the blender.

4.  Spread the filling evenly across the meat.  Then fold or roll the meat over, removing any filling that spills out.  Add a little salt and pepper.

5.  Slice the now rolled fillet into quarters and wrap each piece completely in microwavable cling film, then tie off the ends.  Leave the wrapped fillets in the fridge for at least 20mins or until needed.

(At this stage there is about 20 mins of cooking left so don’t start this bit until the rest of the meal is nearly ready)

6.  Boil a large pan of water, then reduce the heat until the water is no more than a simmer.  Carefully place the wrapped pork fillets into the water.

7.  After about 7-8 minutes turn the fillets if they are floating.  Leave for a total of 15mins then remove from the water.

8.  Cut off the cling film, place the fillets on top of the fritters and cover with the pepperoni sauce.  Then plate the veg and puree around it.

For the Polenta Fritters:

1.  In a large pan, bring the chicken stock to the boil.

2.  Slowly and while constantly stirring, pour in the polenta.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium, continue stirring until the polenta comes away clean from the sides of the pan (about 40mins)

4.  Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the polenta, add a little salt and pepper then remove from the pan and into a flat baking tray.

5.  Allow the polenta to set in the tray, placing it in the fridge for 20mins will help speed up the process.

6.  Using a chefs ring or cookie cutter, cut as many rounds as you can.

7.  Place each round in a hot saute pan with several tablespoons of olive oil.

8.  Fry for 10mins and then flip over and fry for a further 10mins.

9.  Once the fritter turns golden brown, remove from the heat and serve.

For the Broccoli puree & veg:

1.  Clean and cut the broccoli and boil a pan using the chicken stock.

2.  Add the broccoli florets to the stock, this will need to be done in batches.  Boil until soft enough to stick a fork through them.  Then keep them aside and do the next batch.

3.  Once all the florets have been boiled, boil the stems in the same way.

4.  Fry the sage in a little olive oil until they start to turn crispy.

5.  Combine the broccoli, sage and a little salt and pepper in a blender, then add some chicken stock and blitz into a puree.

6.  Cut the yellow bell pepper into strips and add to a frying or grill pan set to a high heat.

7.  Cook the peppers until they go nicely brown at the edges (but not burnt).  Plate and serve immediately.

 

Tips:

For the broccoli puree, add enough chicken stock to smooth it out but not so much that you end up with a soup.

Don’t try to gather up bits of polenta to make an extra fritter, it will fall apart when you try to flip it.  Just discard the odds and ends, you will make more than enough fritters anyway.

Flip the polenta fritters only once, wait until they go crispy and brown at the edge before flipping and be sure to scrape underneath the fritter or you will tear away the crispy bits!

Try to get a pork fillet that is roughly even thickness throughout, it will be easier to cut.  Holes in the fillet (together with holes in the cling film) will let the filling out and/or water in – neither of which is a good thing.

To wrap the pork fillets I recommend placing two pieces of cling film, one on top of the other as that will prevent it slipping.  Tightly start the roll, while pulling the meat towards yourself.  Tie off the ends once you have gone once around the meat, then tuck the ends in and finish the wrap.

The pork should still be a bit pink when you finish poaching it.  If you cook it through, it will dry out.  Don’t worry, a little bit of pink in the pork is perfectly safe.

Don’t fry the peppers in too much oil, it’s best to just brush a little oil on them first rather than put any in the pan.



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