Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pork Wellington #CooktheBooks

Our novel for this session of Cook the Books was chosen by Debra of Eliots Eat's.  It is the story of a slave from Ancient Rome who is coveted by many masters because of his skill in the kitchen.

Feast of Sorrow cover art

I listened to Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King on Audiobooks, narrated by Simon Vance.

It was my favorite novel assigned in our CTB to date.  I LOVED this historical fiction account of Thrasius, a slave who is acquired, at great cost, by gourmand, Marcus Gavius Apicius.

Apicius is very wealthy and obsessed with serving as culinary advisor to Caesar.  He purchases Thrasius believing that he is the best of the best and will get him this coveted position.  Thrasius, is an amazing cook and creates for Apicius the reputation of giving the best, most lavish parties in all of Rome.

Since Apicius own Thrasius all of Thrasius' talents then belong to Apicius who receives all the credit for every dish Thrasius makes.  Apicius loves to cook as well and has huge dreams and goals.  Apicius creates the first cookbook, starts the first culinary school and becomes a legacy in the Roman culinary world.

Thrasius, previously owned by a cruel taskmaster who didn't hesitate to beat him and use him for his sexual deviancy, wants very badly to impress and please Apicius.  The very first meal he serves him is Ham in Pastry.  You can learn more about this selection and how to join in this event by going to Debra's Announcement Post.

In my mind's eye, when I heard this dish spoken of, I saw Pork Wellington.  That is the dish that I decided to make, inspired by this novel.

I found this recipe for Pork Wellington by Alton Brown. It is pork tenderloin stuffed with dried apples, wrapped first in prosciutto and then in puff pastry. I served it at my first dinner party of the Christmas season.  

It was delicious and I'm sure Apicius would have allowed me to live one more day.......

I doubled this recipe, making two Wellingtons,  as we were having 6 for dinner.  This gave me plenty and allowed for leftovers.  I thought the best tip from Alton was cutting the tenderloin in half and then turning one so they lay tail to end on each side, so that they cook evenly.  Other than that I made the recipe exactly as written.

I am also linking this post to Foodies Read.  Stop by and see what the others are reading this month.

Pork Wellington
courtesy of Alton Brown

1 egg
1 T. water
1 oz. dried apple rings or chips
1 whole pork tenderloin
4 1/2 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed per package directions
1 T. whole grain mustard

Whisk together the egg and water.  Set aside.

Pulse the apple in a food processor, until they are the size of medium dice.

Trim the tenderloin of any extra fat and all silverskin.  Cut in half, lengthwise, then turn one of the halves so the tenderloin is laying tail to head, making them the same size on each end.

Place the prosciutto onto a piece of parchment paper a little longer than the tenderloin.  Top with a second piece of parchment and, using a rolling pin, roll over the parchment so the prosciutto adheres together.  Remove the top piece of parchment. Season the prosciutto with salt, pepper and thyme.

Place the tenderloin onto the prosciutto.  Place the diced apple in between both halves and press together.  Using the parchment paper on which the prosciutto lies, wrap the prosciutto around the pork tenderloin so that it is completely enclosed.  

Roll out the pastry to an approx. 12x14".  Spread the mustard down the center of the pastry. Lay the tenderloin on top of the mustard and fold the pastry up over the tenderloin, using the egg wash to seal the edges.  Place onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down.  Pinch the edges shut, using the egg wash to seal.  Brush the entire package with the remaining egg wash.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for about half an hour, until an internal temperature reading is at least 140* and the pastry is golden brown.

Let rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  Print Recipe


  1. That’s a fabulous review, Wendy. Pork was a good choice! That was a signature dish for Thrasius. Thanks for th nice comment on my blog, I agree this would make a good movie or better yet, a mini series. And I vote for dishy Gerard Butler as Apicius :-)

    1. Thanks Tina.....I had to do a google search for Gerard Butler, I wasn't familiar with him but I agree with your assessment.

  2. Yes, great review and what a great dish that is perfect for the holidays! We definitely need to do a Gerard Butler vote for this round too!!!!!!

  3. Never hear of this book, but it's now on the wishlist. Sounds great, and the Wellington looks fantastic!

    1. I think you will really like it Rob...It kind of reminds me of the Ken Follet Trilogy.

  4. Great recipe Wendy! It looks amazing! I was inspired by the same scene but went a completely different direction - Now I'm wishing I would stuck a little closer to the book description!

    1. I'm sure your dish is amazing as well. And it did say ham in pastry not pork loin.

  5. I like the adaptation of this dish and Alton Brown can be a scream if he's in the right mood on TV. Didn't know he also produces recipes

    1. We went and saw him live a few years ago. He puts on a fun show.

  6. Great choice of recipe for a party dish! I also enjoyed the book: an interesting story, well told.


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