Recipes from Pri Lenart

From the Pri Lenart Kitchen.

We’ve been asked by so many guests over the years for a recipe book, cooking courses and so on, so we’ve decided to start a monthly menu blog. It’ll be a seasonal menu of the month, suitable for a dinner party, and we’ll include prep notes and a time plan so if you  get organised, the actual dinner will just need the minimum last minute work, hopefully leaving you unstressed and with more time to spend with your guests.

JANUARY MENU (serves 8)

WINTER SALAD OF CHICORY, PEAR, WALNUTS AND GORGONZOLA

SLOW ROASTED BELLY PORK WITH CARAMELISED APPLES, HERBED PORK FILLET, GARLIC GREENS, SLOVENIAN ROAST POTATOES, WINE AND MADIERA JUS

LEMON TART WITH LEMON AND VODKA SORBET

The bitterness of the salad is offset by the sweetness of the pears and creaminess of the cheese, and it’s easy, too, just needing last minute assembly. The pork dish is an impressive main course, but most can be prepped in advance and just finished on the evening. The tart is quite time-consuming to make, but again it’s all done in advance. If time is short the lemon sorbet served alone is fine (maybe with a couple of good bought biscuits, e.g. Florentines or biscotti), and you can put it into individual glasses once frozen and then back into the freezer, so all you need to do is take them out and serve.

WINTER SALAD OF CHICORY, PEAR, WALNUT AND GORGONZOLA

A selection of chicory, endive or radicchio (mixing green and red leaves looks pretty)

40 walnut halves

500g Gorgonzola or dolcelatte cheese (gorgonzola comes in 2 varieties; piccante (which is stronger) and dolce (sweet, known as dolcelatte). Choose whichever you prefer (or can find!)

2-3 ripe, juicy pears

For the dressing:

3 tbsps olive oil

2tbsps cider or apple vinegar

2 tsps Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

METHOD:

Wash and dry the chicory, place in a large bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients together, whisking or shaking well. Just before serving toss the leaves in the dressing, divide between 8 bowls, and arrange the walnuts around the edge of each bowl. Put 3 teaspoons of gorgonzola on each bowl, and then peel, core and thinly slice each pear quarter into 3. Arrange these between the gorgonzola in a cartwheel shape, serve.

SLOW ROASTED PRESSED BELLY PORK WITH CRACKLING, CARAMELISED APPLES, HERBED PORK FILLET, GARLIC GREENS, SLOVENIAN ROAST POTATOES, WINE AND MADIERA JUS

N.B. Start this in the morning or the day before, as pressing the belly pork gives a better texture and neater presentation.

For the belly pork:

2kg belly pork (ask your butcher for the thick end, with no bones and as little knuckle as possible). If possible, use outdoor reared, good quality meat; it makes a huge difference!

3 large onions

1 head garlic

Half a bottle dry white wine

1 bunch fresh thyme

 

For the sauce:

Pan juices from the pork

2 glasses Marsala

1 tbsp flour and 1tbsp butter (if a thicker sauce is required)

 

For the fillet:

2 pork fillets, trimmed (enough to make 8 x approx 2 inch pieces)

Mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley are all good), finely chopped and mixed with salt and pepper

Olive oil for searing

 

For the apples:

4 Granny Smith apples

Caster sugar for dredging

60 g butter

 

For the potatoes:

 Desiree potatoes, medium size, (allow 2-3 per person)

4-5 Red onions, finely chopped

Butter and olive oil for frying

 

METHOD (Prepare in advance to end of step 6)

1.       Preheat the oven to 210 deg c/200 fan Score the fat approx every half centimetre, a sharp Stanley knife is best, and salt well. Peel then cut the top and bottom off each onion, then halve them horizontally, and place the 6 halves in the bottom of your roasting dish to act as a trivet for the pork. Peel garlic and scatter the cloves in the pan, twist some black pepper over and add the wine and thyme. Place the pork on top, cover with a double thickness of foil and seal well. Cook for 20 mins, then turn oven down to 160/150 fan for a further 2.5 hours. Strain off all liquid and press the meat by sitting it in a pan, placing another pan on top that covers the meat but sits inside the lower pan, and weight down with anything heavy (we use a cut off wooden plank and wedge this tightly under a shelf. Press for a few hours or overnight in a cool place, then cut into neat squares and re-open the scoring on the skin, which will have sealed over.

 

2.       For the sauce, take the pan juices from the pork, squeeze them through a chinois or sieve, then chill (you can put them into the freezer for 30 mins in a cold jug if time is short) and once thoroughly cold, skim off all fat. Reheat with marsala and reduce by half. If you like a thicker sauce, mix the flour and softened butter together to make a buerre manie, and whisk in small amounts of this into the hot sauce. Allow to cool.

 

3.       Cut the fillet into 8 x 2 inch pieces. Oil the fillet lightly with olive oil, and roll it in the herb mix. Chill. 

 

4.       Prepare the potatoes: boil them whole in their skins in salted water until a small, sharp knife pulls out easily when inserted into the centre. Drain and cool a little until you ccan handle them, then peel and chop into roughly half centimetre cubes. Season the chopped onions well with salt and pepper and fry over a low heat in about 2 tbsps olive oil for about 15 minutes, then turn up for the last couple of minutes to brown them off. Add the potatoes and stir in well, check for seasoning. When ready to serve, reheat in the oven for about 20 minutes or in the microwave if short of oven space.

 

5.       Peel, core and quarter the apples and place in acidulated water until ready to use. Then dry, dredge with caster sugar, and fry over a medium heat in a little butter (heat until foaming before adding the apples) adding the excess sugar, turning them on each side until softening and caramelised. You can do this to a half-cooked point in advance, but don’t overcook them or they will collapse.

 

6.       Prepare the greens: Take out the core and any coarse stalks. Finely shred then wash, then c in a little boiling water (or steam) for about 4 minutes. Drain and refresh in ice-cold water. Drain again until ready to serve.

 

7.       When preparing to serve, pre-heat the oven to 240/220 fan, then roast in a shallow dish for 20 minutes. If the crackling hasn’t crackled 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, heat the grill and put under for a few minutes (watch very carefully, it will easily burn!!) until the crackling is done. At the same time, heat a large frying pan or two and quickly sear the pork fillet on all sides, then place in a roasting dish and roast for 12-15 mins with the belly pork. Rest for 5 minutes while the belly pork is finishing cooking.

 

8.       Finely slice 3-4 cloves of garlic, and fry off gently for a couple of minutes in a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Add greens and cook for a couple of minutes until hot.

 

9.       To finish the dish: Heat the apples, potatoes, sauce (add the juices from the pork fillet tin, and from the meat when rested). On large plates, arrange one piece of belly pork, a piece of fillet cut into 2 and stacked on top of the other. Mould the potato in a ring or rice mould if you have one, and then place 1 or 2 quarters of apple on top of the greens and drizzle a little sauce over the fillet.

 

 

 LEMON TART WITH LEMON AND VODKA SORBET

 

For the tart pastry:

150g plain flour

Pinch salt

90g unsalted butter

30g caster sugar

20g granulated sugar

1 egg, separated

Approx 3 tbsps cold water

 

For the filling:

5 eggs + 1 yolk

180g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

150 ml double cream

 

For the sorbet:

300ml lemon juice (about 5 large lemons) and zest of 2

200g caster sugar

300ml water

3 tbsps vodka

 

To serve (optional): mint leaves; lemon liqueur (eg lemon vodka, lemon schnapps or limoncello), served from the freezer

 

METHOD (prepare in advance to end step 3)

1.       Make the sorbet: Put the water, zest and sugar in a small pan. Heat slowly, stirring to fully dissolve the sugar, then boil steadily for 5 minutes to make a thin syrup. Cool, then add lemon juice and vodka and pour into an ice cream maker, follow manufacturer’s instructions. Or freeze in a shallow dish, and whisk up after an hour with an electric whisk. Repeat twice more before freezing solid. Freeze 8 shot glasses, then when cold spoon in sorbet and refreeze until ready to serve.

 

2.       Make the pastry: Rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in sugars. Mix egg yolk and water together well, add to pastry, form a ball and chill for 20 mins. Take out, roll out and line a 23cm/ 9 inch shallow flan tin with removable base. Leave the sides long and untrimmed to allow for shrinkage. Chill for 20 mins. Heat oven to 200c, line with baking paper and beans, and blind bake for about 15 mins. Remove beans and paper, trim edges working with a small, sharp knife from inside to outside of the tin. Brush the base with egg white, return for 5 more minutes. Cool.

 

3.       Make filling: Whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar together. Add zest and lemon juice then cream, whisk well. Leave to infuse until case is cool, then preheat oven to 140c. Place the tart on a baking tray, pour in filling through a fine sieve, then bake for 30 mins until custard is just set.

 

4.       To serve, place a slice of tart dusted with icing sugar, a sorbet glass garnished with a mint leaf and if you like, a glass of lemon liqueur on each plate and serve.

 

 

Written by Sarah Hogg

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