Pork, Mustard, Rosemary & Apple Roll with Gin & Juniper, Pointed Cabbage & Potatoes
As you can see, I decided to treat myself a little this evening- and it was a lot less work than it looks- trust me! Which made it all the better of course!
Nothing too extravagant, nothing too exclusive, but the result a veritable feast- because as nice as it may be to spend lots of money (if you have it- which I don't!!) on exclusive and expensive ingredients... at the end of the day, it is the flavors and the combinations thereof that will make your food special... or not. And it is never a question of expense to get flavor into your food...
One little apple, one sprig of rosemary, 3 juniper berries, a shallot, a bay leaf and a shot of gin were the main flavor-givers in this meal and that is about as frugal... nay, CHEAP as you can get. But boy do they do a good job together!
One of the stars of the show here was the pointed cabbage, which I fear may only be available here in Germany, for all of you good people spread out in the rest of the world- and it is So lovely and mild and delicious- sigh! So, failing this, an alternative would be Savoy cabbage I guess.
So as you can see, this was a very small one... but that's ok! I'm not exactly huge myself... yet! Haha.
But seriously, back to what you would need to make this, per person: 1 slice of lean pork shoulder, 1 small apple, 1 tablespoon of mustard, 1 shallot, 2-3 juniper berries, 1 bay leaf, 1 shot of gin, a little fresh rosemary and a couple of potatoes on the side.
This is about as close as I will get to making something that seems a little festive this year, living on my lonesome and all. But that is one of the main reasons that I made it... just to show that is needn't be a stressful or complicated affair to make something like this. I was finished in less than 45 minutes... and I had a little gin and tonic whilst preparing it- so none of it seemed like work at all!
Nothing, but nothing goes better with pork than apple... well, except for mustard maybe! And especially if it happened to be a fig-infused mustard like this one was. Like I already mentioned- you don't need a lot of money to get the flavor in there and with aromatics like these, they will be flavors that everyone will enjoy.
For the pork rolls, I began by flattening the meat- as you can see, I used a little rolling pin, but a hammer, or even just the base of a glass works fine too- just don't overdo it! Instead, what I chose to do was to make lots of little cuts into the meat, across the grain, using a very sharp knife.
I then spread the meat generously with mustard, seasoned it with salt and pepper and scattered it with finely chopped rosemary.
Next came some fresh apple, which I simply grated on top- peel and all- it's all good!
And then the meat was finished and flavored and ready to roll... literally!
I held mine together using 2 metal clips, but you can ties or skewer your rolls- no need to fuss- or to worry about the filling escaping- that's not a problem in this dish.
Sear the pork roll from each side in a little butter, together with some fresh rosemary- this will give you a good, aromatic base to start developing a sauce from.
Next, add half of the shallot, very finely chopped and the rest of the apple, grated and including the juice, Add salt and pepper, a splash of white wine and let it simmer away whilst you take care of the cabbage.
At this point you can also start boiling the potatoes as you are now only 20 minutes or so away from serving... oh- and pour yourself a gin and tonic if you like! I did!
For the cabbage, you will need to simply slice it as thinly as you can, to bang 2-3 juniper berries with a rolling pin and to finely chop the other half of the shallot... and to heat up a pat of butter in a frying pan...
Add the juniper berries and the shallot first, to get the butter nice and aromatic- the berries soon re-hydrate and become really soft as you can see.
Add the cabbage, give it a stir and a toss, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar... and after 3-4 minutes- add that shot of gin!
Place on the lid. turn down the heat and let it steam away for 5 minutes or so. At the same time, turn over the pork roll and check the potatoes... they should nearly be ready too!
The cabbage should be perfect after 10 minutes- soft and sweet and delicious, the clips or thread can be removed from the pork roll... and all you need to do is to add a pat of butter, a pinch of salt and a little finely chopped rosemary to the potatoes before serving!
And as you can see- the result is well worth that little bit of effort... because it tasted every bit as wonderful as it looks! Buon appetito my friends- I hope you try this out some time!