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A Snail's Pace: pork fillets with snails and girolles

I've just got back from a very wet holiday in France so I have to admit I was quite excited to get back to work in the kitchen.

I couldn't have picked a more perfect day to come back as we were due a delivery of two pigs from Gorgie City Farm. I've been buying pigs from them for a good six months now as I like to support the local farm and the quality of their meat is second to none.

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Our chefs love it when we buy a whole animal for them to work with as it gives them the opportunity to learn how to cook with every part of it without any waste. It reminds me of my younger days in the kitchen when I was doing my apprenticeship in St Maure De Touraine in the Loire Valley between 1984 and 1986. This restaurant used to buy all of their animals when they were still alive and the rest was our responsibility - from killing to serving. I've worked with all sorts of farmed animals from rabbit to duck and even guinea fowl.

When I'm working with whole animals there are parts that I can't use for the restaurant, as they would only amount to a couple of serving portions. These pieces are usually saved for staff meals or kept for the boss! I've kept those parts of the pigs especially for this dish, which I plan to use alongside my snails that have just been delivered from the Isle of Barra. 

Remember that 70% of the success when cooking is the quality and freshness of the ingredients. I hope you enjoy cooking it as much as we did and don't forget you can alter parts of the recipe as you wish, for example you can add cream or swap the mustard for something else, that's what cooking is all about after all.

Bon appétit.

Pork fillet & kidney aux escargots et girolles

Serves 4/6

Ingredients

2 pork fillets
2 kidneys
40ml beef demi glace or brown stock
15ml white wine
1 carrot, finely diced
20 fresh girolles (mushrooms)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 shallot, finely diced
1 bouquet garni
12 prepared snails
1 leek
1 tbsp. butter
Vegetable oil or duck fat
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Sprinkle of fresh chives/parsley or a mixture of both
Salt and white pepper to season

Method

1  Clean and prepare your fresh pork fillets and kidneys. Slice them into long thin cuts and season them with salt and pepper. Put to the side.

Peel, wash and prepare the carrot, leek, shallot and onion and put to the side.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

4   Heat the oil or duck fat in a large cast iron pan. When it's piping hot, sear the pork fillets evenly until golden and cook for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. After 10 minutes, remove, cover with foil and leave to rest.

Sear the kidneys and snails on a high heat for three minutes. When ready, place under the foil with the pork fillets to rest.

  Using the same pan, heat the butter and add all of the prepared vegetables. Gently heat until golden. Pour the white wine in and reduce.

7   Add the stock, bouquet garni and crushed garlic. Cook and reduce until the mixture starts to thicken.

8   Push the sauce through a sieve into a new pot and gently simmer.  Add the Dijon mustard and stir well.

9   Add the prepared snails and kidneys into the sauce and season well with salt and pepper.

10 Fry the girolles for three to five minutes. Add the girolles with their juices into the sauce.

11  Dress your pork fillets on a plate and generously pour the sauce over the dish remembering to spread the snails and girolles evenly. 

12  Finally, sprinkle chopped parsley over the dish.

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