Pork fillets, which I use in this first recipe, are lean, tender and full of flavour. Irish pork is good value and great to feed a family. Look out for the Bord Bia quality assurance mark. I like the parsnip in this recipe – they are a lovely vegetable that grows well in Ireland and I would love to see them used more. There is a nice sweetness about them. These days, many butchers are making great black puddings. We always get ours from Kelly’s in Newport, Co Mayo; a fantastic family butcher’s in business for three generations.
Pork belly, which features in the second recipe, is a favourite cut of mine. Cook it low and slow and it will melt in the mouth. You could cook it in a slow cooker. The hoisin is a beautiful flavour. This recipe has a Chinese twist and is a flavoursome alternative to a regular burger. Sometimes I serve this with a Waterford Blaa instead of the brioche.
Stuffed pork fillet feast
Serves six to eight
2 x 350g pork fillets, trimmed well
16 dry-cured rindless streaky bacon rashers
225g black pudding, casing removed and roughly crumbled
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into batons
1 fennel bulb (fronds reserved), trimmed and cut into wedges
4 small eating apples, cored and quartered
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage or 1 tsp of dried sage
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tbsp honey
For the glaze
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
2 Cut a slit about three-quarters of the way into the pork fillets, along their full length, then use a rolling pin to flatten them out enough to fill this pocket with the black pudding.
3 Place two large pieces of cling film on your work surface and line up half of the streaky bacon side by side on each piece. Place a slit pork fillet on top and fill with the crumbled black pudding.
4 Close up each fillet bit by bit, stretching the bacon and using it to seal the pork over the stuffing. try to get them to overlap and join underneath each fillet, to keep it closed. Do this all the way along until each pork fillet is wrapped up like a big parcel, then wrap tightly in the cling film. This can be made in advance or frozen.
5 Put the parsnips, fennel, apples, sage, vinegar, oil and honey in a large bowl. Season generously and mix gently until evenly coated. Tip into a large roasting tin lined with parchment paper, put the stuffed pork fillets on top and roast for 35 minutes, then remove from the oven and give everything a good toss.
6 Brush the stuffed pork fillets with the mustard and drizzle over the honey for the glaze. Roast for another five minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the pork fillets are cooked through and tender.
7 Carve the pork on a small chopping board and serve on plates with the vegetables and apples, spooning over any juices from the tin.
Crispy Hoisin Pork Belly Brioche Buns
Serves four to six
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
500g rindless pork belly slices, cut into 7.5cm pieces
For the pickled vegetables:
200ml rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
100g radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp wasabi
4–6 brioche buns, lightly toasted
50g soft lettuce leaves
1 Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/gas mark 3).
2 Mix the garlic, ginger, hoisin, soy, honey, muscovado and vinegar in a bowl. Put four tablespoons of the marinade into a small casserole and pour in 50ml of water, stirring to combine.
3 Add the pork belly pieces, then cover with a lid and cook for 90 minutes, until very tender. this can be frozen at this point.
4 To prepare the pickled vegetables, put the vinegar, caster sugar and salt in a pan and bring to a simmer.
5 Put the onions, carrot and radishes in a colander and pour over a kettle of just-boiled water. Drain well and tip into a bowl, then pour over the warm vinegar and set aside until needed, stirring occasionally to ensure they pickle evenly (this can be made in advance and kept in a sterilised container in the fridge for up to two weeks).
6 Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Arrange the cooked pork belly strips on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Baste with the rest of the marinade and grill for three to four minutes, turning halfway through and brushing with the sauce from the tin until the sauce is thick and sticky and the slices are nicely charred. This can be frozen at this point.
7 To serve, mix the mayonnaise with the wasabi, then spread this over the bottoms of the buns. Add a pile of the lettuce leaves, then top with the hoisin pork and drained pickled vegetables. Finish with the brioche bun tops.