It’s been almost a month or more since the last escapade of the ‘Glutton’ rolled into town, so we thought that we would spare the good folk of London another bout of our over zealous tomfoolery and stay safely within the confines of my humble abode. Pork had been the main course of choice, as voted for by the Glutton membership and not just any pork, but rare breed Gloucester Old Spot no less! This is a very different kettle of fish to your run-of-the-mill extra lean, water added supermarket pork. It has fat for starters, as all good slow grown meat should and…wait for it…flavour! Yes flavour! It actually tastes of how I remember pork tasting when my Mum used to buy meat from the local butcher all those years ago…
That was the main course sorted, now onwards to the starter. I had in the freezer some haggis that was in need of a good home. How to use it as a starter is a tricky one because it is a notoriously heavy dish, laden with lamb offal, fat and oats and as such doesn’t lend itself to being the opener on any menu! I needed to avoid making it heavier by pairing it with potatoes or rich sauces and needed something to cut through the fat and offal. Somewhere in a dark, dusty unused corner of my brain I had kept a brunch dish that I had been very eager to try but had never quite gotten around to using, I can’t recall where it came from but I had read about it somewhere a year or so before and it immediately appealed! Haggis and HP toasties. Absolute genius whoever conjured up this one. The HP sauce cuts right through all the fatty richness of the haggis, all I needed to do was make sure the portion sizes were not too big and I might just get away with it!
The ‘Glutton’ welcomed back Little-Jonny-Cottonsox who had been sorely missed from the Burger and Lobster jaunt and again the omni present early morning tippler Dr. White, sadly Miss Kendall had to return to deepest darkest Leicestershire.
I had given a bit of thought as to what to do with the pork, but the nagging thing with my style of cooking is that I hate to throw too many contrasting flavours at a dish, I had a great piece of Gloucester old spot belly, perfect in every way, it seemed like madness to then chuck lots of spices and chillies at it. Let the pork flavour come to the fore and it should be good enough to hold its own. Slow roasting was the plan, 5-6 hours 150c, let the fat just melt through the layers, all the while the crackling was doing its best to protect it from drying out whilst providing brilliant textural contrast to the yielding meat when on the plate. Mash whipped up with a bit of the pork fat, carrots roasted with the joint for the last hour or so and a bit of sage and onion stuffing completed the picture.
Starter time! I got a few quizzical looks when I pulled the Breville toaster out of the cupboard and started laying the bread across it, this continued when I reached for the HP and there was actual snorts of disbelief when the explanation of the Haggis and HP toastie was revealed in all its glory! I was a tad concerned I may have gone a step to far with this one. Worry not it was fantastic!! We all agreed that it was far lighter than any of us expected and without exception confirmed it as the perfect hangover breakfast! Just to be on the safe side I had left it a while before the main was to be served. Time for a beer..
The Pork went without a hitch, I removed the crackling from the joint and gave it a final blast at 220c for 15mins just to finish it off. The flavour was excellent real old-fashioned pork flavour, just as I’d remembered it all those years ago and the mash and veg seemed to go down well also. Just replace the butter or dairy you normally use in mash with the pork fat or goose for that matter and whip it in with a fork it’s incredibly rich and creamy (obvious health/happiness warning).
The meal was finished off with a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with some of the left over rhubarb compote from the rhubarb and ginger crumble. The perfect end to the perfect meal…this time.