Comfort food is wonderful. It's always the things which are full of bread, cheese, pasta, pastry and the like. Sometimes I want the comfort without the guilt, and particularly for this, without the expense. Beef wellington is as magnificent a dinner as they come; it's one of my all time favourites. However, pork fillet is about a third of the price of beef fillet and therefore makes a brilliantly cheaper alternative.
You will need (for four):
500g pork fillet
1 pack puff pastry
Knob of butter
A small glass of white wine
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
First of all trim the pork to get rid of any fat or sinew and then melt a little butter in a pan on a medium/high heat. I cut our fillet into two pieces so it was easier to manage. Season the meat and then sear in the pan until brown on all sides and then remove and leave to rest. You will need to fry the pork for a little longer than you would the beef to make sure it is almost cooked through.
Blend the mushrooms until they have formed a paste, add the wine and some salt and pepper and then cook in the same pan as you cooked the pork in until all the moisture has gone. It will spread out over the pan and bubble up like something straight out of a witch's cauldron but give it time and you will get a paste.
Unroll the pastry and cut into two pieces if you halved your pork or keep in one piece if not. Spread the mushroom paste onto the pastry leaving a gap at the edge and put the pork on top. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and then roll the pastry around the pork and tuck in the ends. I'm not very good at this sort of thing so thankfully the taste makes up for the appearance.
Brush the outside of the pastry with a little more beaten egg and then put a few slits in the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and the pork is cooked but still juicy.
I wanted something light to accompany the pork so I halved a few tomatoes, drizzled over a little olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and then put them in the oven to roast with the pork. These with a little fresh salad worked wonders with the wellington.
It's not a looker. It lacks the enticing undulations of a cauliflower cheese, the colours and textures of a roast dinner with gravy and certainly lacks the fragrance of a nutmeg rice pudding. Despite its lack of glamour it's triumphantly flavourful. The pastry is crisp yet gooey where it meets the mushrooms. The mushrooms add a glorious meaty tone and the pork was cooked perfectly. Every flavour could be tasted; there wasn't one that outshone the other. Not only is this delicious it's a great excuse to enjoy something in summer that is normally reserved for the colder months. Not that you ever really need an excuse for pastry.