So Pascal & I decided the best thing to do on an autumnal day is to cook a roast. Now this is not your normal roast with roast potatoes and gravy, in fact my brother will berate me for even calling my meal a roast. I refuse to eat an actual English roast - we used to have them every Sunday growing up and they were the most painful experiences ever - Mum would spend all day preparing the vegetables, dad would spend all day in the pub, he would come home, they would have a row, he would then do the meat for about one minute before he went on strike, there would then be further rows, when it was finally ready dad would eat one mouthful and then say he was full, mum would inform him he was anorexic and would get scurvy and us kids would be desperate to be anywhere but there! Hence roasts don't hold good memories for me - one year at Christmas I rebelled and refused to eat it and ate super noodles instead which obviously caused more rows!!
Anyway thankfully Pascal & I are nothing like my parents (yet) and so I really enjoyed cooking this roast pork. Here is the recipe - it is actually quite simple.
Ingredients for 4 people:
Rack of pork 1 x 8 bone, French-trimmed (this means the bones are scraped clean & skin scored)
Sea salt flakes
24 small shallots (blanched for 3 minutes and then peeled)
1 glass of white wine
A few sprigs of thyme
Pascal and I hit the first hurdle almost immediately - we could not find a rack of pork so instead used boneless pork - it didn't seem to be a problem and in fact was probably easier as we didn't have to deal with the bones. Scoring it wasn't the easiest though - you need a very sharp knife and muscles!!
Anyway to start with take the pork out of the fridge an hour before cooking and really pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Leave it uncovered so the skin gets a chance to dry out further.
Once the hour is nearly up heat the oven to 230C / fan 210 / gas 8. Rub the pork with a bit of olive oil, then with PLENTY of sea salt, rubbing the salt into the cuts. This is what makes the crackling (my favourite part). According to my brother (a roast professional - he used to cook a roast beef with roast pork on the side) you can never rub enough salt on the pork - I would say I used about 4 tablespoons at least and that probably wasn't enough as I didn't cover the sides very well (and you could tell). Really go to town and don't think about your heart - just cook fish tomorrow.
Season the rest of the pork all over and then put the joint in a shallow roasting tin, fat side up and cook for half an hour. The second hurdle we hit was that we did not have a roasting tin so decided to use a china Bridgewater dish (it survived but only just)!
We also cut up some mushrooms, peppers and red onion, sprinkled this with herbes de Provence and mixed with a glug of olive oil and then put this in the oven for 30 minutes.
Once ready rest the pork for ten minutes before carving it and serve with the shallots, pan juices and veg.
I have to say it was phenomenal - I used to think of pork as a dry, bland meat but this was tender, moist and full of flavour and the crackling was incredible. The shallots were also absolutely delicious - I don't know why I don't cook with them more often. This was a perfect roast but not a roast if you get my drift and we will definitely be cooking it again once I have purchased the all important roasting tin.