Last weekend I taught myself two new cooking skills; making puff pastry pies and how to fillet a whole fish.
Let’s start with the fish filleting story. My Dad, being the keen fisherman that he is, caught a very large Kingfish and then kindly dropped it over to my place.
You may be familiar with Kingfish via Japanese restaurants who slice it into the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth sashimi. It’s also fabulous baked whole but alas The Bear does not eat whole baked fish. He’s not keen on the texture or the bone picking.
So what’s a girl to do? Fillet the fish! There was only one problem, I didn’t know how. Thank goodness for the internet! I did a quick Google search and found two excellent videos; this one and this one. I watched them several times and then wandered into the kitchen to try it out.
I managed to fillet the whole fish without too much trouble and then chastised myself for not trying it sooner. It’s really not that hard guys – give it a go if you haven’t already. If you’re wondering, I cut the fillets into strips, crumbed them and served them in fish burgers. Yum!
Now, onto the puff pastry pies. These are new to me because I haven’t used puff pastry before (I worry about the fat content). But I’ve had a packet sitting in my freezer for ages and thought I’d better use it up.
I’m most proud of the filling, it’s sweet, spicy and fragrant with the pork cubes meltingly tender. I’d make the filling again and just serve with mash or couscous.
Even though the apricot and meat combination is very 70s, I think I’ve managed to make it more modern. But hey, you be the judge.
Update 6/11/09: This pie was included in Hillary from Chew on That Blog’s Monthly Mouthful event. This month (Nov 09) is about Thanksgiving pies!
Happy eating, Christie
Would love a vote if you get a chance. Go on, I’ll be your best friend….
Rosemary & apricot pork fillet pies
makes 6 small pies
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked (about 1 tablespoon worth)
2 fat cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon coarse rock salt
8-10 dried apricots, finely diced
2 tablespoons verjuice
1 small red chili, finely diced (optional, but highly recommended)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500g pork fillet, diced into 1cm cubes
1 very ripe tomato, diced
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1. Using a pestle, pound the rosemary, garlic and salt in a mortar to form a rough paste. Remove to a small bowl and add the apricots, verjuice and chilli. Stir to combine and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan gently cook the onion in the oil over a low heat until just starting to brown at the edges. Increase the heat to high, add the diced pork fillet and cook stirring often to brown the pieces on all sides.
3. Add the tomato, wine, apricot mixture and 1 cup of water. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to mash up tomatoes. Remove the lid and cook for 5-10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Take off the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the pastry.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line 3 baking sheets with non stick paper. For each sheet of pastry cut out two circles of pastry; 12cm and 15cm in diameter.
5. Place the smaller circles onto the lined baking sheets and prick each one several times with a fork. Arrange approximately 3 tablespoons of the pork mixture on each one, leaving a 1cm border. Brush the broder with the beaten egg and place the larger circles of pastry on top.
6. Press down around the border with the tines of a fork to secure the two layers together. Use the scraps of pastry to decorate the tops if you like. Brush all over with the beaten egg.
7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden all over. Serve with greens or salad.