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In Toast Hash Roast Mash: Real Foods for Every Time of the Day, British Chef and Author Dan Doherty offers some “everyday” ideas that are hardly everyday food. It’s a book filled with recipes that combine a just a few things for rambunctious meals. Here is a decidedly British recipe: Pork and Prune Meatballs. You can make the meatballs in advance which means this dish can be readily assemble on a weeknight. Much more complicated meal than pizza. And decidedly more sophisticated.

Why does this recipe capture my imagination? Well, how often do you eat prunes? They actually taste pretty good, lovely sweetness and they are made for a marriage with pork. Gravy, of course, has appeal and mushroom gravy seems a tad extravagent. And then, you look at the picture and see the Parmesan Crumble, and this dish is irresistable.

Suzi is in Chicago, learning more about our lovely new Jenn-Air applicances. When she comes home later this week, I will have a lovely present for her: all these ingredients ready for her to make this dish for me. I really try to be a good husband.

For my full review of Toast Hash Roast Mash, here you are.

Pork and Prune Meatballs, Mushroom Gravy and Parmesan Crumble

Yield: serves 4


For the meatballs:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped 300g
  • 10 ½ ounces minced pork
  • 10 prunes, stoned and cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • A pinch of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ¾ ounces breadcrumbs

For the mushroom gravy:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 3 ½ ounces button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 fluid ounces white wine
  • 7 fluid ounces chicken stock
  • 7 fluid ounces double cream

To serve:

  • 10 grams or ¼ ounce butter
  • 50 grams or 1 ¾ ounces breadcrumbs
  • 50 grams or 1 ¾ ounces Parmesan cheese


To make the meatballs, heat a medium pan on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, taking care not to let them color. Season with salt and pepper and add the sage. Set aside to cool down.

Combine the minced pork, prunes, parsley, breadcrumbs and the 1 cooled onion mix in a mixing bowl. Roll the mixture into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter, and set aside.

Now make the sauce. Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium pan on a medium heat and add the onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cook for 3-4 minutes, taking care not to let them color. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until all the juice has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and reduce until almost dry, then add the stock and reduce by three-quarters. Add the cream and reduce by half.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and sear the meatballs until golden brown. When nicely browned, put them into an ovenproof dish, pour over the mushroom gravy and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the breadcrumb and cook on a low heat for 5-6 minutes, until golden. Add the Parmesan and cook for a further 2 minutes. When the meatballs are ready, scatter over the crumble and eat straight away.


Source: Toast Hash Roast Mash by Dan Doherty [Mitchell Beazley, 2016]