Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Roast Pork

Now that Autumn is well and truly here, it's time to enjoy a bit of roast pork for Sunday dinner.

Let your senses take you away for a moment. It's a November afternoon, there's a crisp chill in the air.

The smell of roasted pork meets you first. Next, your eyes spy a succulent rolled shoulder of pork, perfectly roasted with a layer of crackling on top. As you watch, the roast is cut and you hear the sounds of the knife breaking through the crackling to the juicy, tender meat beneath.

A slice of the tender, white meat is placed on your plate with a strip of crackling. Roasted potatoes - crispy and golden brown on the outside; fluffy and soft on the inside - are laid alongside. Steamed seasonal vegetables finish the picture you see on your plate.

Just before the plate is set before you freshly-made, warm applesauce is spooned over the pork and onto the plate.

Cooking a pork roast can be a bit daunting for some, between worrying about cooking the meat through completely and trying to get the skin to crackle over the top.

Check my tips for the perfect roast

The Best Pork Joint

rolled pork shoulder with scored skin
With any roast dinner, it starts with the meat. I prefer a rolled shoulder myself. Others may like the loin.

The difficult part of cooking a pork roast is getting the skin to turn into crackling. I have found that this method gets a good crackle every time.

Take the pork from the fridge and dry it thoroughly. Let it sit out for at least an hour. Using a sharp knife, slice the skin through into the layer of fat underneath. Be very careful not to cut the string holding the roast together. Take a tablespoon of salt and rub that into the skin. Let it sit out another 10 - 15 minutes.

The roast must be as dry as possible. Cutting the skin and into the fat allows the fat to be released while the pork is cooking. It also makes it easier to eat the crackling afterwards. The salt also serves to help release the fat and pull out any remaining moisture.

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/ 400F/200C/moderately hot.

Roast it in the oven, without covering, for the specified time.
25 minutes per pound + 25 minutes

Rotate the joint halfway through cooking.

Very important - Do not baste the pork joint.

The pork is done when the juices run clear. I use a skewer to poke through the center of the joint.

Applesauce

Pork and applesauce just go together. And it is quick and easy to make your own at home.

I never knew just how easy it is to make applesauce until I started cooking my own.

bramley apples

  • Take one large cooking apple. I like to use a bramley.
  • Peel it.
  • Quarter it.
  • Core it.
  • Cut it into small chunks.
  • Put it into a small saucepan along with a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of water.
  • Cover.
  • Put it over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples have all softened down.
  • Add a knob of butter.
  • Use a fork to stir it all together and break up any remaining lumps.

Take the applesauce off the heat and cover. Keep it warm until ready to serve.

One large bramley apple makes plenty of applesauce for 2 adults and 2 children. Bramley Apple image by Marcin Floryan (Own work (own photo)) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons 


How much is a knob of butter?

A knob of Butter is, at best, an inaccurate measurement that really means a "dollop". While certainly, some people maintain that a "knob" is around 2 tablespoons, there are as many folks that maintain that the closest measurement to a "knob" is about 2 tsps.
Another definition for "knob" of butter is the amount of butter you get when you slice the corner of a block of butter to form an isosceles right-angled tetrahedron equal to half the height of the block of butter. About 2 teaspoons in other words.