One of the benefits of having people to stay from England is the fact that they can bring us supplies of all the things that are hard to come by in France. Aside from the obvious things like fish and chips, Marmite and cheddar cheese, one of the things we miss the most from the UK is a good pork sausage! None of these gristly Merguez that the French favour, but a proper, butcher-prepared, quality sausage.
So I was thrilled when the in-laws arrived last week bearing all sorts of goodies including 6 tasty sausages from their local butcher in Hampshire. My husband Rich had his eye on them for breakfast, but I decided that I would use them to create something more interesting instead.
I had two pork tenderloin fillets that I had bought and hadn’t decided what to do with. Pork tenderloin is a really good cut of meat, as it is tasty, tender, lean and convenient to serve. So I decided to make a stuffing for the pork out of the sausages, and roast the whole lot in the oven. I had two tenderloins and for this I used 6 sausages. One tenderloin will easily serve 4 people once it is stuffed.
I am not very good at quoting exact measurements for things that I make, as I tend to rely on taste to work out what should go in, but I will try and get better at this with future posts!
What you need (serves 8)
2 x Pork Tenderloins
6 x Decent Quality Sausages
Generous handful of flatleaf parsley
Thyme (dried is fine)
String & Tin foil
To prepare a pork tenderloin, you need to slice off any fatty bits and the thin white tendon that may be on the outside. If you are stuffing it, as I did, you need to slice down the full length of the meat, cutting about two thirds of the way in so that you can open it up, but that it is still connected on one side. This will create a sort of pouch to fill with your stuffing.
I sliced off the end of the sausages, and squeezed out all the sausagemeat into a bowl. It is a bit of an odd feeling, particularly when you are left with the empty skins in your hands, but it is worth it in the end!
Chop up the onions finely and sauté them gently in a little olive oil until they are soft. If I am making something with raw meat, I tend to try and adjust the seasoning before I add the meat, so that I can taste it without poisoning myself! So season your onion mix well with salt and black pepper, add three or four generous teaspoons of wholegrain mustard, and about a teaspoon of thyme. Taste the mixture- it should be just slightly saltier than you want it so that once it is mixed with the meat the flavour still holds its own. Mix the onion mixture into the meat, and then add finely chopped parsley and enough breadcrumbs to make it hold together nicely. If it is not sticking well, you can always add a little egg, but I didn’t need to with my stuffing.
Open up the pork and stuff the mixture tightly inside, dividing between the two fillets. Then using a few bits of string, tie the tenderloin shut. It should really be special butcher string, but I didn’t have any of that, so I raided the shed and used something far less savoury! Pop the meat in a roasting tin (open side up), spread a bit more mustard on the meat and drizzle a little honey along its length. Add a splash of red wine to the bottom of the tin.
Cover with foil and pop into the oven at about 180 degrees. Leave the foil on for the first 30 minutes, then take it out of the oven, drain off some of the juice to add to your gravy, then remove the foil to cook for about another half hour. I was expecting it only to take about 45 minutes, but because there was quite a lot of stuffing in it, and I had the foil on, it took longer (about an hour in total). If yours is not very full of stuffing, it may take less time. Ensure that the juices run clear in the deepest part of the meat to check that it is properly cooked.
I served the pork with braised red cabbage with apple and brown sugar (made the day before to allow the flavours to deepen), crispy roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, sweetened roasted carrots, green vegetables and a gravy that was enhanced by the meat juices, some of the stock from the red cabbage, red wine and cranberry sauce.
The result was yummy…..
Tenderloins could be stuffed with all sorts of nice things. You could try it with a chestnut and apricot stuffing, a mushroom and parmesan stuffing, or even a ready made stuffing mix if you are feeling lazy. The sausagemeat was delicious though so I will definitely be doing that again the next time we get some good English sausages.
Luckily there were some leftovers, so we sliced it up and had it in a French baguette with a spicy tomato chutney and rocket leaves. Delicious!