Or, “How Far Will I Go To Keep It Local?”
If you don’t know by now that we were on a break in the Dordogne, you need to read the blog more often. While there, we prepared a meal with strict guidelines. Everything had to be really local. Leave aside that I had driven a round trip of about 1,800 kilometres to get all ‘low food miles’ for the dish. It was more of a challenge than a protest for me so I got cogitating. I settled on the above using local air dried ‘black ham’, local mushrooms, local free range pork, green beans and potatoes from the local market, walnuts from the huge farm down the road and we drank wine from the vineyard next door. It doesn’t get more local than that. The meal was a great success and I vowed to recreate it at home.
Having returned from France to economic and availability realities, I set about gathering the ingredients for Walnut and Mushroom Pork Wellington Sous Vide.
- 2 pork tenderloins (rare breed, free range if you can)
- 300 grammes of shelled walnuts
- 12 slices of cured, air dried ham (Parma or similar)
- 2 shallots
- 500 ml of cream
- Pepper to season
- 300 grammes of mushrooms (Chestnut or similar)
I’m afraid the best I could do to keep it local was to go to my local supermarket for everything bar the free range pork. That I got from my less than local butcher friend on Dublin’s Upper Rathmines Road (that’s as much of an ad as I’m giving!).
The process is very straightforward. First peel the mushrooms and remove the stalks. Keep the stalks and caps separate.
Slice both, the caps into slices, the stalks into fine pieces. Heat a frying pan and fry the mushrooms in batches, doing the stalks first. When the stalks are cooked, chop them up fine.
Place the walnuts into a blender and blitz them to a coarse crumb. Add these to a bowl and mix in the chopped mushroom stalks. Season and mix until combined. Lay a sheet of cling-film on your work surface. Cover most of it with enough Parma ham (not very local either) to wrap one of the pork steaks. Sprinkle an even layer of the nut/mushroom mixture.
Next comes the difficult bit. Fold the tail of the tenderloin over to give an even thickness along the joint. Place the pork tenderloin on one side and wrap it up, being sure to avoid the cling film getting wrapped under the ham.
Seal up the ends with the excess cling-film. Vacuum seal the lot.
Stick it in a sous vide water bath at 57ºC / 135ºF for any time between an hour and three. While this is cooking (if you can call it that), slice the shallots and fry them off gently until translucent. Add the mushrooms and the cream.
Reduce this by about half until you have a nice thick sauce consistency. Season to taste. Remove the pork from the sous vide. Debag and remove the cling film. Pat dry. Heat a frying pan and add some cooking oil.
Brown the Wellingtons. This happens pretty quickly as the meat is cooked already. Using a very sharp knife, carve the Wellingtons carefully as they have a tendency to fall apart.
Serve with your own choice of vegetables, being sure to pour loads of the sauce over them to harmonise the flavours of this lovely dish.
I cooked it with just about no food miles while in France. I added lots of miles to recreate it. I’m afraid I will be doing so again. I have to recommend this delicious dish. Go on try it.