Slow roast pork, tender and rich

6 Jun
roast pork loin, potatoes

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was prompted by the Ranting Chef’s post yesterday to tell you about my slow-roast pork, which is always a guaranteed winner for any occasion, even if you’re on your own (piggy, piggy). [Beware: if you do this for a party, make you sure you get some early, because it vanishes before you can say crackling.]

Scour the supermarket shelves for the largest pork joint you can find. Doesn’t really matter what joint it is as long as it’s pork and not bacon, ham, gammon or suchlike – unsullied roasting pork – leg, shoulder, belly. Carving will be immaterial – the meat will fall off the bone if there is one. If you’re lucky, you can find a big joint on sale, which makes it even tastier, somehow…

What: joint of pork bigger than you think you really need (it will all be eaten); packet of mixed herbs; cheapest bottle of dry white wine or cava; salt

How: The day before you want to eat it, ie 24 hours ahead, put the pork in a deep (3″ – 4″) roasting dish (cut it in half if it’s too long and nest the two halves side by side). For good crackling, cut deep slashes into the skin all over the top and sides and rub salt into the skin. Pat the mixed herbs all over the pork, including underneath – be generous. Slosh the white wine or cava (I used an old bottle of cava that had lost its fizz a bit, so no good for drinking – perfect for cooking) into the roasting pan – use the whole bottle, or as much as will go into the pan. If pan too small, get bigger pan. The wine keeps the pork moist and makes the most delicious, aromatic gravy.

Stuff pork in oven on high heat for half an hour, then turn the oven to its lowest setting and leave it for 24 hours. This is very difficult, as the smell of the roasting joint will torment you, especially when you come down for breakfast. But do not give in to temptation. LEAVE IT. Check that it’s doing okay and hasn’t dried out too much – if there’s no liquid or almost no liquid in the pan, slosh in some more wine. If there’s a lot of grease, pour some off into a bowl (not down the sink) and put the joint back into the oven.

For the crackling, I’d suggest taking the crackling off the meat half an hour before serving. Keep the meat warm and let it rest, and put the crackling back in a hot oven until it’s bubbly and crisp. You can make the gravy at this point, too. Take the juice from the pan, pouring off excess fat, and either serve as is, or thicken with a little flour or cornflour and top up with a little boiling water if necessary.

For a dinner party, serve with garlic mashed potatoes or a herb risotto, and a green salad; for a party, it would be the centre piece of a buffet. Don’t worry, it won’t be around long enough to go cold…

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