My seasonal menu for four would work for every holiday occasion, from a pre-Christmas catch-up dinner, to a late-night New Year’s Eve feast, or stress-free alternative on the big day. It’s up to you when you enjoy it.
With the funny old year we’ve had, I thought it would be best to give you something you can rely on for Christmas. Beef wellington is a classic, but it’s a tricky one to get right, especially as everyone likes their beef cooked differently. Unless you get really technical, the beef always cooks more quickly than the pastry, and I like my beef rare. By swapping it for pork, it’s more economical, but just as special, and a lot more forgiving. Plus, the cooking time guarantees perfectly cooked pastry. Even better? Everything can be prepared the day before, so there’s only a bit of work to do on the day. Happy holidays! Tom x
Pork & chestnut wellington
‘Pork loin’ can mean lots of things to different butchers. Don’t get it confused with a tenderloin, which is a much thinner piece of meat. The loin needed for this recipe is off the bone, with the skin and most of the fat removed.
PREP 45 mins plus 1 hr 30 mins chilling and 10 mins resting
COOK 1 hr 15 mins
1 tbsp sunflower oil
800g pork loin, skin and most of the fat removed (leave about a 5mm layer)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small chicken breast (about 140g), chopped
1 tsp porcini mushroom powder
½ tsp truffle oil (optional)
1 large egg, beaten, plus 2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tbsp water for glazing
100ml double cream
125g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, crumbled
4 sage leaves, chopped
12 smoked pancetta rashers
500g block puff pastry plain flour, for dusting
1 Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat, then season the pork loin and sear until well browned all overuse tongs to sear the ends. Set aside on a board and leave to cool. Reduce the heat, add the butter to the pan and cook the onion for 10 mins until golden. Leave to cool.
2 Meanwhile, tip the chicken, mushroom powder, a little salt and the truffle oil, if using, into a food processor. Blitz to a coarse paste. Scrape down the sides and pulse in the whole beaten egg until fully incorporated. Drizzle in the cream, then add the chestnuts, fried onions, sage and a grinding of black pepper. Pulse again to bring everything together – the mixture should resemble a coarse mousse or pâté.
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