My dad was a smart man, with a dry wit, dry humour and a twinkle in his eye that can evoke sympathy, empathy or fear, depending on his mood. I loved him not only as the man who worked extra hard to ensure that his family had everything they needed for a good start in life but also as the closet Romantic Poet who could quote Shelley, Byron and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with a tumbler of red wine in hand.
When I first wrote this, my dad’s was having a bit of a rough time and this recipe (with three variants for stuffing) came about when I wanted to cook him Sunday lunch with a tight turnaround time. This recipe is a great substitute for a roast joint when your time poor yet hungry – it’s also the best for anyone trying a Sunday roast for the first time.
There are three choices of stuffing to suit your mood/tastes. You can scale up the recipe to suit numbers, but think that one loin will feed two-three hungry people (you know the size of the stomachs of the people you’re feeding).
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
- 1 tenderloin of pork (get one of even-ish proportions)
- 6 slices of Parma ham (room temperature)
- 1 bunch (8 big sprigs) fresh thyme
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 heaped tablespoons onion marmalade
- 4 heaped tablespoons (or a round) haggis at room temperature (so it’s easier to spread)
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- One a chopping board, line up your Parma ham horizontally so each slice overlaps the other by 1.5cm. Once all line up you should have a ‘blanket’ that is slightly longer than your loin of pork. This is the blanket that is going to envelope/hold together your stuffed joint.
- Now butterfly the loin: make a cut into the centre of the loin, do not cut all the way through – stop about 1.5cm from the other side. Once done, open out like a book and repeat the process on the two ‘pages’ of the book you’ve created. Remember, do not cut all the way through.
- If you’re going for stuffing one, strip the leaves from half the thyme and put in a bowl with half the lemon zest and the olive oil and mix well and spread over the opened loin.
- If you’re opting for stuffings two or three, then spread your choice over the exposed loin. I love the haggis option as this tends to keep the loin moist.
- Roll up your loin and place on the left third of your Parma ham blanket. There should be more ham to the right of your loin than to the left.
- Pull up the ham which is to the left of the loin, and while holding tight, roll the loin to the right until the loin is covered in ham. You’ve just created a giant pig-in-a-blanket.
- Put this on a roasting dish and cook for 25-30mins. If you’ve gone for stuffing one, pack the remaining thyme around the stuffed and wrapped loin before roasting.
- This is a joint that doesn’t suffer over cooking, so once removed from the oven, rest for five mins, cut into three and serve. If you’ve gone for stuffing one, sprinkle the zest and the juice of the lemon over the cut joint.
- As ever, this needs a good gravy and Mum’s roast potatoes.
Dad’s favourite drink is red wine, so for this I’ve gone for a Berry Bros Brouilly, a great Beaujolais that can be served lightly chilled.