by Pamela Foster, DowntonAbbeyCooks.comIf the Season 3 opener wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, our next episode delivers even more delicious adventures of the privileged lives of the men and women who live at Downton Abbey.
Last week we saw a glimpse of a fairy tale wedding as Mary and Matthew finally tie the knot. It was a shame that all we see of the grand event is Mary’s wedding dress and her walk up the aisle. It was quite disappointing for fellow foodies, teased with a long shot of the canapés, and barely a shot of the grand wedding cake. It was not a totally happy occasion as Downton faces financial ruin from poor investing. Cora’s opinionated Mother-in-Law was stirring up the pot, and Matthew refused to accept an inheritance from Lavinia’s father which would save Downton.
This week, the Crawley family faces the prospect of downsizing to a smaller mansion, taking an outing to Downton Place. All is not lost though as Reggie Swire’s lawyer delivers a letter to Matthew. Mary opens it and gleefully reads that Lavinia had written to her father before she died so he had all the facts about the love triangle. It wasn’t until Daisy saves the day by acknowledging that she had posted a letter for Lavinia, that Matthew agrees that he would give the money to Lord Grantham. Robert agrees to accept the money only as an investment in the property: Downton would now have two masters. That should go well.
Mary’s wedding had spurred Edith to close the deal with Sir Anthony. She craved the same marital bliss her sisters had attained. With so many young men lost in the war, it seemed her only hope for happiness was the aging Sir Anthony. When he and the family reluctantly agree to the marriage, plans are quickly put into place. Thankfully we see more of the wedding preparations this time round. I thought Edith’s dress was far more elegant than Mary’s, and we get full view of the gorgeous wedding cake.
Tragically, like the impetuous RMS Titanic, Edith hit her iceberg. Sir Anthony regains his senses and makes a run for it. The most poetic moment of the show was watching Edith’s wedding veil float down the stairwell. The greatest irony, the food served. Left over canapés were served to the downstairs staff. As Mrs. Patmore proudly recites the name of each dish to the uninitiated (including the asparagus salad, last week’s Downton Dish) we discover that many of these dishes were made famous as the last meal served on the mighty Titanic.Julian Fellowes loves Titanic trivia, and these dishes foretold that this wedding was a disaster waiting to happen. As an aside, the 101st anniversary of the Titanic sinking was just held on April 14th.
In honor of the fuss Alfred and a new footman make over the honor of serving a pork dish in next week’s episode, this week’s Downton Dish is pork tenderloin. This stuffed pork tenderloin is lean, easy to prepare, and an elegant addition to any dining table.
This Week’s Downton Dish: Stuffed Pork Tenderloins
- 2 pork tenderloins
- 1 cup chopped prunes and dried apricots
- 1 orange, juiced
- cinnamon, pinch
- 1 cup sherry
- 1 small onion
- sugar, pinch
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Put chopped fruit in a small pot, add the orange juice and cook until the mixture is soft, but not sloppy. Allow to cool.
- Remove the silver from the tenderloins and butterfly*, so you have a large rectangle to fill.
- Spread the fruit mixture on the tenderloins, roll and secure with kitchen twine.
- Heat oil in an oven proof skillet and brown the tenderloins on all sides.
- Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20–30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F.
- Remove the meat from the pan, cover with tinfoil and let rest.
- Add a little oil to the pan and sauté the onions until translucent on medium heat.
- Add the sherry, sugar and stock and season to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Remove the kitchen twine and cut the tenderloin into 1–2 inch slices and serve with the sauce.
How to butterfly a pork tenderloin
- Hold a sharp chef’s knife blade flat, so that it’s parallel to your cutting board, and make a lengthwise cut into the center of the tenderloin, stopping short of the opposite edge so that the flaps remain attached.
- Open the tenderloin like a book.
- Cover with plastic wrap. Pound the meat with a mallet, with a bottom of a pan to your desired thickness.
Downton Abbey Season 3 continues Wednesdays at 9pm ET/6pm PT and our special Downton Abbey mini-site has launched featuring photos, videos, character profiles and much more. It’s your online domain for all things Downton!
Pamela Foster is a culinary historian who resides in the Greater Toronto Area with her husband, affectionately referred to as Lord D. Her popular blog Downton Abbey Cooks explores food, history and health of the Downton era (1912- 1920s). A signed copy of her ecookbook Abbey Cooks Entertain can be downloaded from her website and regular copies from Kobo or Amazon.ca. (Get a sneak peek here.)
all Downton Abbey photos (c) NBC Universal/ITV
photos of Pamela Foster/Abbey Cooks Entertain/recipe dishes courtesy Pamela Foster