Here at Oak Cottage, we love us some nice Roast Pork once in a while. Roasted until it is succulent and brown, with a crispy cracklin on the outside, it is a roast dinner that never fails to please. When I was growing up, I wasn't all that fond of Roast Pork. My mother always had to cook it the night before so that we could have it cold on the day. My dad would only ever eat cold roast pork, with mustard on the side, and so, we never ever had it hot and juicy from the oven.
The most important thing with pork, is that it should come from a traditional breed that lays down a good covering of fat. I like to eat happy meat, and so I choose to buy a free range piece of meat that has had a happy and natural life, filled with lots of access to open fields and woods where it can root around. Middle white, Glouster Old Spot, Tamworth, Berkshire or Lop Eared are going to give you the best tasting meat.
If you want good crackling, you want the skin to be scored properly, so ask your butcher to do it for you with a Stanley knife. (It's notoriously tough and you won't be able to do a proper job of it yourself, unless you are superman, and the risk of injury by doing it all by yourself is not something you want to really deal with!!) I like to remove it from any packaging once I get it home and leave it open to the air. This drys the crackling out really well and goes a long way towards insuring a nice and crisp finish. Sea salt and olive oil are also very helpful. Of course, if your meat is done before your cracklin is crispy tasty, just slice the crackling off, keep the meat warm, and cook the crackling up in a hot oven all by itself until it's just the way you like it!
There' s absolutely no point in roasting a joint any smaller than 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds. Anything smaller than shrinks too much, dries out before you can get the crisp cracklin, and is impossible to carve. Buy yourself a decent sized roast, and then settle in for some tasty leftovers!
That cracklin is sooooo bad for you, but it tastes sooooo good. Once in a while, why not indulge yourself utterly and completely?? Of course a good applesauce to go with it is a must!
*Roast Pork With Crispy Cracklin*
Serves 6 to 8
I have always loved a roast pork. Crispy brown on the outside, the tender meat studded with slivers of garlic, and dusted with plenty of salt and pepper, this is a real favourite Sunday Lunch around here. Served with Crispy Roast Potatoes and all the traditional veg, not to mention a tasty gravy. (If you can remember, take it out of it's wrapping the night before and store open to the air in the fridge. This helps to make a nice dry and crisp cracklin)
4 4/1 to 5 1/2 pound leg or shoulder of pork, with a good layer of fat and crackling attached
(Or a chined loin)
cracked black pepper
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
1 onion, peeled and sliced
Pre-heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Bring your roast to room temperature before proceeding.
Take a sharp knife and, turning the roast upside down, make some sharp stabs into the meat all over. Insert slivers of garlic into the holes, then massage to close them up. Season the meat well with some salt and black pepper. Place meat side down, on top of the sliced onion, in a large roasting tin. Rub the crackling with a little bit of olive oil and then sprinkle sea salt all over it.
Place into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 170*C/325*F. Continue to roast, allowing approximately 35 minutes per pound. The crackling should be crispy and the juices run clear when it is done.
Remove the roast to a platter. Don't cover the joint as this will sog up the crackling.
To make gravy, skim any fat from the pan, and discard the onion. Add about 2 cups beef or chicken stock to the roasting pan and heat over medium heat, stirring to release any crispy bits. Shake 1/4 cup of flour together in a jar with 1 cup of cold water. Strain this into the stock, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. I also like to add a bit of horseradish sauce for some extra flavour.
Remove the crackling from the roast and chop into pieces to serve. Slice the roast and serve with the crackling and gravy.