Pesto Philly Fill

Liverpool-based Bexleys shows Ed Bedington how to make a Pesto Philly Fill, using pork tenderloin

A lack of space is no restriction on creativity for Bexleys, the UK’s number one butcher’s shop. The Old Swan, Liverpool-based retailer took the title in MTJ’s Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards and has seen business boom by more than 30% since.

The company recognises the need to offer creative products and despite a lack of space, does its best to ensure it has a good range of added-value products to offer the customers. Martin Brereton, one of Bexleys partners, says: “We want to extend our range, but the lack of space does make it difficult.”

The company has recently started a new outlet in nearby Huyton, opened during National Butchers’ Week, and Brereton says the extra space will allow the retailer to expand its range of ready meals and added value.

However, prior to that, the business did not let its difficulties hold it back and Brereton says they spend a lot of time working with companies like Verstegen to come up with new product ideas. One of which is the Pesto Philly Fill – a pork tenderloin flattened, filled and then re-rolled to create a tempting added-value meal option. “We came up with this one because we wanted to turn the pork fillet into more of a seller,” he explains.

He says the shop sells the product at £3.49, but adds that other retailers may be able to sell it for more: “We’re in more of a price-conscious area, so you have to be aware of that.”

He adds that it is important to offer something out of the ordinary: “We want to try and offer different products – the kind of things you just cannot get in the supermarkets.”

The Pesto Philly Fill has been on sale in the store for four months now, and Martin says the retailer is shifting around 100 units a week. “It’s not a major line, but it’s an alternative product that brings people in. We’re trialling new stuff all the time, trying to get a percentage of our customers to buy some different things. We’re constantly trying to stimulate that area. It does work.”

He says customers are looking for different products, and tastes are widening: “People are going abroad and seeing different things, and we need to meet those demands.” Martin adds that the product can be sold as individual slices, or as a whole roast. Bexleys serves the product in sealed black oven-ready trays which allow the consumers to simply pop the product straight into the oven

To cook the slices, pierce the film and place onto an oven tray and bake in a moderate oven, Gas Mark 6 or 180˚C for 25-30 minutes. Whole cuts must be judged according to their size.


Tenderloin of pork
Verstegen camp olivar
Verstegen la spezia herbs
Philadelphia cheese
Red onions
Spring onion
Looped and knotted skewers
Red chicken bands


1. To create the Pesto Philly Fill, you need to take a tenderloin of pork, slit open down its length and then flatten it with a fat basher gently in a poly bag. Next, fold in the tail to square off the fillet.
2. Mix together three parts philadelphia cheese, one part pesto and cut and prepare the onions, chopping them into small segments. Blend the onions into the cheese sauce mix and add the herbs to give it a nice visual balance.
3. Turn the pork loin inside out and, with a pallet knife, start to spread a layer of the cheese mix approximately 1/8” all over the loin.
4. Start to roll up the loin lengthways, then secure with four to five chicken bands. Skewer the loin at approximately 1” intervals.
5. You can now brush this with olive oil then chill for several hours.
6. Before displaying, brush again with olive oil then garnish with thinly chopped red and spring onions and some more herbs. Alternatively, you can roll the whole loin in smokey streaky bacon before skewering, then secure with bands and skewers or brush the completed loin with world grill campo olivar instead of olive oil.