Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pork Pinwheels with Skylark Pale Ale

A few weeks back, I received a nice surprise in the post; A couple of bottles of home-brewed beer from John of John's Random Ramblings. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect; but to say I was amazed was to say the least. One of the beers, Skylark Pale Ale, was an absolute revelation - I set about creating a little snack to go along with this fantastic pint.

My Grandfather was a butcher, and I spent many early years in a little smock and apron making these things in the back of the shop. They would sell well in the barbecue season, and were one of the few concessions to modernity that my (very traditional) grandad would make for his customers. I've done my best to replicate it.

Pork Pinwheels (makes two foot-long rolls, enough for about 4 people)
You will need:
1 & 1/2 lbs of Minced Pork
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 Spring Onions, chopped
1 Chilli, deseeded and chopped.
Flaky pastry, about 300g worth
Eggwash or clarified butter, to glaze
Seasoning: a little salt, white pepper, fresh thyme and parsley

1. Mix the chopped/diced veg with the pork in a large mixing bowl.
2. Roll out your pastry, and lay flat on a floured surface. With your hands, spread the mixture across the pastry, leaving a gap of about half an inch at the edges.
3. Very carefully, roll the pastry up like a swiss roll (a meat swiss roll!) tightly. Too loose and it will not hold together. You'll have a big pinwheel log at this stage.
4. Repeat with s much pastry and meat as you have - I reckon at least two logs.
5. Place in the fridge to firm up and chill for at least an hour.
6. When ready to cook, simply eggwash the top (or butter, I guess) and with a very very sharp knife (Not a serrated one), slice into portions and arrange on a baking tray. The knife must be sharp and you must use a smooth action - if you've made sushi, you know what I mean.
7. When on the tray, you can apply a little eggwash to the undersides, and bake in a preheated oven at 180c for about 30 minutes, or until golden.
There you go. Tasty, savoury bites that are surprisingly filling. Ideal for making for large groups as you can make the things the night before and then simply cook on the day. They also freeze excellently, providing you are using fresh pastry and meat.

The savoury, peppery pork paired really well with the Skylark Pale Ale; the Skylark was full of floral, honey aromas but tasted less so; to taste, a malty bite came through at the end. If this is the standard of beer being made in homebrew setups in Darlington then I, for one, am gladdened.

Obviously I am aware of the fact this pairing isn't possible for everyone. For a beer that I thought was surprisingly close in taste, I can recommend St Peter's Best Bitter for the malt profile, or Durham's Rolling Hitch - for the more floral, hoppier aspect of the Skylark.
Cheers, John!


Peter M said...

Leigh, this look so cool, very inventive too! Thanks for sharing a family recipe.

Heather said...

Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around! And a porky one at that! Good god, man, that is the stuff dreams are made of.

Cakespy said...

Talk about rich and comforting fare! Those pinwheels sure kick the butt of the little pinwheel playthings that spin in the wind. The sound of it--peppery pork with the malty bite of the Ale--simply perfection!

Leigh said...

Guys - you're all welcome!

Anonymous said...

I like pork. I like pastry. I like them together. But why cut the logs prior to baking them?

Is there a reason for that? Instinctually I would put the whole log in and cut afterwards. Do they fall apart that way?

Good recipe, simple and clean. Easy to pull off.

What do you serve them with? Ketchup, tomato sauce, chicken liver mousse?

Leigh said...

Hi nick, glad to meet ya. Why cut them? Well, this was just simply 'how they were made' in my family, you see. Also, I would imagine that if you didnt cut the log until after cooking, the tops/bottoms would not glaze and crisp up, so the texture would be very different. I've never not done it like that!as for accompaniement, they are savoury enough as a nibble on thier own, but if you want to dunk, i would go for something sweet, hot and chunky such as a chilli chutney.

Dave said...

Those pork pinwheels look awesome. I've saved out the recipe and I'm going to make them for starters at my next barbecue.

I don't think I'd bake the log prior to slicing, either. I can imagine that the baked log would make for somewhat messy slicing (not so much if they were made with bread rather than pastry however.)

Leigh said...

thanks Dave - let me know how they turn out! They do work well with a BBQ as they offer a nice contrast to the (meaty) main course!! And it's finger food too, which is what a BBQ should all be about.

Boak said...

Very interesting idea - I've never seen anything like it. And John's beer looks excellent as well.