A nice piece of pork is one of the big four roasts – but none of the others have the joy that is crackling! Families have been known to come to blows over getting their fair share. Another reason for choosing this roast is that the pork available now is the best ever – ethically raised and full of flavour.
- 1.5–2kg joint of pork, boned and rolled,
- skin scored
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 onions, thickly sliced
- A few thyme sprigs
- 3 or 4 star anise
- Sea salt and
- black pepper
- For the apple sauce
- 2 large cooking apples, such as Bramleys (about 500g), peeled, cored
- and sliced
- 50ml cider or water
- 2 tbsp soft light
- brown sugar
- 25g butter
- For the gravy
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 100ml cider
- 400ml pork, chicken or vegetable stock
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Make sure the pork skin has been scored. If not, score it now, making sure you cut through the skin to the fat below.
- Pat the skin dry, then rub it with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Put the onions, thyme and star anise in a large roasting tin with the pork on top.
- Calculate the cooking time – you need to roast the meat for 30 minutes per 500g. So if you have a joint that weighs 1.5kg, the cooking time should be an hour and a half. Check for doneness after this time – the crackling should be blistered, crisp and brown and the meat should be cooked until the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile, make the apple sauce. Put the apples in a pan and add the cider or water, half the sugar and the butter. Cover and cook over a low heat until the apples have broken down into a thick purée. Whisk thoroughly to make sure everything is well combined, then taste and add more sugar if you think the sauce needs it. Spoon the sauce into a serving dish and set it aside.
- Remove the pork from the oven. Take off the crackling and break it into strips. Transfer the pork to a warm serving dish and cover it with foil. If the crackling isn’t crisp enough, put it back in the oven in a smaller tin while the meat rests.
- Strain off the contents of the roasting tin, including most of the fat, and reserve. Discard the onion or add it to the resting pork. Set the roasting tin over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour. Stir vigorously until the flour has picked up any sticky bits from the base of the tin. Pour in the cider and stir until you have a thick paste. Gradually add the stock and continue to stir until you have a gravy. Pour into a small saucepan – the base of the roasting tin should be clean.
- Bring the gravy to the boil and check the seasoning. Add in any strained meat juices reserved from the roasting tin and the resting pork. Serve the pork cut into thick slices, with the crackling, gravy and apple sauce.