Pork Log is an easy-to-prepare product that can be a terrific feature at a dinner party or, alternatively, a unusual supper meal for two.
The product is a very popular selling item at Farmer Copleys, the award-winning farm shop in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Butchery manager Michael Kerr says it is a very versatile product. "Pork is a good product to take other flavours and this cut can be created using a variety of fruit flavours or chutneys. We use an apricot and ginger chutney, which gives the pork a terrifically tangy edge. Fruits like apple add a touch of sweetness to the product. You can experiment with all sorts of ingredients to add different flavours."
About half a dozen pork logs are sold at the farm shop every weekend. It creates customer interest in the meat counter if one is displayed whole with a second cut in half and displayed either side of the whole one, so the filling can be seen.
It is the filling that makes it such a special product; for example, apple marinated in cider for 24 hours before making a purée, then adding a small quantity of raisins creates a truly distinctive-tasting filling that complements the pork beautifully.
Another interesting variation can be created by using rhubarb. Simply cut the rhubarb into cubes, place in a pan and heat through. Add sugar and remove when the mixture takes on a creamy consistency. Do not over-cook the rhubarb; it needs to remain reasonably stiff.
As well as making a great main meal, any remaining portion of the pork log can be eaten cold in a sandwich.
Founded by Heather and Robert Copley, Farmer Copleys is based in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Various events are run at the farm shop throughout the course of the year. Customers get to meet a different supplier in the shop every week.
Regular Gourmet Evenings were introduced last year, which see more than 50 people turn up to watch product and cookery demonstrations, and to taste the food. There are also 'children's days', where they get a meal and a story told by a professional reader.
The business has also laid on several events for the local community, including a fun day featuring archery, pie eating, bale tossing, wellie wanging and craft competitions, as well as a barbecue.
Robert Copley recently toured shops in the US to gather ideas for possible future use and development.
The business has been one of the most successful farm shops in the UK in recent years a fact recognised by Meat Trades Journal early on, when it was awarded the 2007 UK Best Farm Shop title in the prestigious Butcher's Shop of the Year awards. Since then, it has gone on to win a whole string of awards, including Best Speciality Sausage in Yorkshire, a Harvey Nichols Taste Award, innovation awards and, last year, a second Butcher's Shop of the Year Farm Shop title.
The second MTJ award was made after a major refurbishment and expansion of the business in 2007.
A refreshed look saw the sales and activity area of the shop treble in size to include new meat and delicatessen counters, a café and a children's play area.
An Australian expert on psychological shopping was even consulted and the result was a new, consumer-friendly entrance, promotion areas, power selling points, blasts of colour, high vaulted ceilings and a flow system around the store.
Boneless belly of pork with the rind off
Pork tenderloin or fillet
Pork belly fat
Fruit filling (apple, rhurbarb or apricots). Alternatively use chutney.
Wrap the product in tin foil and place in a casserole dish. Roast for 45-50 minutes in a pre-heated oven at approximately 180/190C or gas mark 4/5, according to the oven. Unwrap the foil from the top of the product 10 minutes before completion to allow the top to crisp.
Great with either mashed or roast potatoes, root vegetables and a thin gravy. The pork log can be used cold in sandwiches.
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