Pork fillet with Parma ham, Agen prunes and Armagnac

The richness of the pork and prunes is complemented by crisp greens and an apple and celeriac gratin in this indulgent recipe.

Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a deep fat fryer and a 20cm/9in gratin dish.


For the prune purée
  • 30 soft Agen prunes, stones removed

  • 2 tbsp Armagnac

For the apple and celeriac gratin
For the sauce
For the apple purée
For the pork
For the cavolo nero

Preparation method

  1. Heat vegetable oil a deep fat fryer with to 180C/350F.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  3. Fill the kettle with water and set to boil.

  4. For the prune purée, in a bowl add the prunes and Armagnac and just enough boiling water to cover the prunes. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.

  5. For the gratin, heat the milk with the celeriac in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the celeriac is tender. Drain and set aside.

  6. In a small pan, melt the butter, add the apple slices and sauté gently for about five minutes. Set aside.

  7. In a saucepan, gently heat the double cream until warm (do not boil).

  8. Meanwhile, rub the halved clove of garlic around the gratin dish, followed by a light coating of olive oil. Layer the poached celeriac and sautéed apple slices in the dish, seasoning each layer with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Repeat until you have used all the slices.

  9. Pour the warmed double cream over the celeriac and apple then top with the breadcrumbs and cheese.

  10. Bake the gratin for 35–40 minutes, or until golden brown and fully cooked.

  11. For the sauce, heat the celery, apple, onion, carrot, the bay leaf and a little olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Cook for five minutes until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Increase the heat and pour in the Armagnac and flambé (CAUTION: keep your face and hair away from the flames. Do not leave unattended). Once the flames have died down, stir in the flour, stock and shredded sage. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Strain and set aside.

  12. For the apple purée, melt the butter with the apple, sugar and a tablespoon of water in a small pan. When the apples are soft, remove from the heat and crush the apples with a fork. Push the mix through a sieve to form a purée and set aside.

  13. For the prune purée, drain the prunes, transfer to a food processor and blend. Add a little water to loosen, if required, and set aside.

  14. For the pork, lay two sheets of tin foil on the work surface and grease each one with a little oil. Lay four slices of Parma ham in a rectangle in the centre of each piece of foil. Lay a pork fillet on top and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread a little prune purée over the pork. Wrap the pork fillets in the Parma ham, then wrap the foil around - twisting the ends to make a tightly-wrapped sausage.

  15. Place the wrapped pork fillets on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

  16. Remove the pork from the oven and carefully unwrap. Add little oil to a frying pan over a high heat. Sear the fillet in the frying pan until golden-brown all over then set aside to rest.

  17. For the cavolo nero, drop the shredded leaves into the deep fat fryer and fry for about a minute. Once the cavolo nero stops bubbling remove and drain on kitchen paper.

  18. To finish the sauce, gently reheat and then stir in the cream.

  19. To serve, cut the pork fillet into thick slices and share between four plates. Add a large spoonful of the gratin, the cavolo nero, and some of the apple and prune purées. Serve the sauce in a small jug or drizzle over.

Less than 30 mins preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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