Simple Roast Pork and Baked Apples
Autumn on a plate and unashamedly traditional. Check out page 97 for notes on crackling and look forward to sweet meat, crunchy skin and apple gravy. Totally delicious.
Weigh the joint and calculate the cooking time (p96). Before it returns to room temperature, score the fat on the pork using a sharp paring or Stanley knife. Don’t add any oil. Squeeze the fennel seeds and dried herbs into the scored lines. Sit fat-side up in a roasting tin. Tuck the fresh herbs and the garlic cloves underneath. Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Rub the skin all over with sea salt at the last minute and bang in the oven.
Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas 4. Cook for a further 1 hour 40 minutes. Add the halved apples, cut-side down. Start to check the meat for doneness with a skewer or meat thermometer – it should be white with clear juices (it may need a further 20 minutes). Remove when done. Leave to rest in a warm place for 10–15 minutes.
Meantime, remove the apples, garlic and herbs from the tin and arrange on a plate. Put the tin on the hob. Add the cider, stock/water and star anise. Stir well, scraping up all the caramelised bits. Bring to the boil and simmer, whisking, until reduced by a third. Remove the star anise and season to taste. Add lemon if it needs a little acidity.
Using a sharpened carving knife, cut the crackling neatly away from the meat and remove it in once piece. Cut the meat away from the bone and carve into slices. Arrange on a plate with the roasted apples and serve with the gravy, onion sauce, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes or mustard mash (p109).
1 x 1.35kg pork loin joint (bone in)1–2 tsp fennel seeds½ tbsp dried thyme/sage a few sprigs of rosemary/sagea few garlic cloves, peeledsea salt and pepper 4 eating apples, halved200ml cider300ml chicken stock/water1 star anise juice of ½ a lemon (optional)
CHANGE IT UP ▼
1. Replace the apples with plum halves drizzled with honey and cinnamon.2. Add potato, red onion and beetroot wedges to the tin for the last hour.3. Fry walnut-sized balls of my sausage meat, sage and black pudding mix (p106) till brown before finishing in the tin for 20 minutes.
If you’d rather use a boneless rolled joint just adjust the cooking times (p96).
BONUS BITES ▼
Italian Baked Meatballs:Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Cook the meatballs as above until browned all over. Spread three-quarters of the tomato sauce over the base of a large heatproof dish and arrange the meatballs on top. Add the remaining sauce, a handful of torn basil and a handful of grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Drizzle over a little oil and bake at 190°C/Gas 5 for 20–30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.Meatballs and Pasta: Cook up a big pot of ribbon noodles or spaghetti following the packet instructions. Drain and toss in a little oil. Sit the meatballs and sauce on top. Sprinkle with a little parmesan. Eat with garlic bread.