I am not sure how I developed a craving for roast pork yesterday but as I began researching pork roasting methods on the internet cravings turned in to inspiration!
Growing up I can remember many a time eating roast pork accompanied with apple sauce. The sweetness of the apple sauce is a perfect pairing with the natural saltiness of pork.
Now it’s a great thing to have a dollop of any tasty sauce sitting next to a juicy roast but for some time now I have been experimenting with creating reductions or gravies out of basic traditional accompaniments. I like a roast to be completely immersed in flavour rather than flavour just being an optional sided extra. Flavour is key to pulling ingredient together, it has no business sitting on the sidelines!
Apple cider and roast pork is my latest in a series of experiments.
Unfortunately as this blog is brand spanking new I have not go in to the habit of jotting down exact measurements. I will get better but for this first entry I will at least give an outline the ingredients brought together to create this dish.
I created this dish for one person but I am sure anyone who knows their way around a calculator can scale these ingredients up for more people:
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Parsnip
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 fistful of fresh summer herbs (I used rosemary, basil and oregano)
- 3 table spoons of olive oil
Peel and wash the root vegetables and slice them at and angle (this makes them look better than boring old straight cut root veg). Cut the parsnip to 1/2 a centimetre thick and the carrots half the thickness of the parsnips – carrots thinner because they take longer to cook. Peel and roughly chop the onion in to nice chunky pieces. Dice (or crush) the garlic.
Throw the vegetables and garlic in to a mixing bowl, drizzle with the olive oil (3 table spoons or enough to give a thorough coating), season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and give a good mix. Throw in the finally chopped herbs and give the bowl another good mix.
Set to one side.
I found a 750g loin of pork at my local butcher which I halved for this recipe. I found that 325g was more than enough for one portion.
- 325g pork loin (skin removed – unless you want crackling)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Half a fistful of fresh Summer herbs
- Half a cup of dry Apple cider
- About 2 table spoons of olive oil (or enough to generously dowse your portion of pork)
Before you even begin the next step, make sure your pork has been out of the fridge long enough to bring itself up to room temperature. You would not like to go from a freezing cold bath in to a hot shower and neither does your pork!
Score the skinned side of the pork with a sharp knife. Smother the meat thoroughly with the olive oil. Sprinkle all sides of the pork with the finally chopped herbs and garlic. Season with sea salt and cracked blacked pepper (a little extra salt on the skin side). Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
Heat up a frying pan on a medium heat and, for about 2.5 minutes on each side, seer the pork to a golden brown colour. While you are colouring the pork pour in occasional amounts of the cider and swish it around the pan ensuring the meat gets a good covering. The aim is to get the caramelised sweetness of the cider to give the meat a good coating.
Take the pork out of a pan and lay to rest while you prepare your vegetables for cooking.
The ratio of meat to veg cooking times is going to vary depending on the portion size of your meat. The vegetables are going to take 35-40 minutes and a 325g pork loin about the same time. A pork roasted to medium-well takes 30 minutes per 450g plus another 30 minutes so, if your portion is different to this recipe, get out your calculator to avoid dry pork and mushy vegetables.
Place the vegetables in to a decent size roasting tin and spread out giving each vegetable chunk it’s own personal space. If your veg is all all piled on top of each other you won’t achieve an even cook. Place the meat in the roasting tin in the centre of it’s vegetable brethren. Place the roasting in tin in to an oven preheated to 180c. Set the timer for the first 20 minutes of the total cooking time. After 20 minutes take the roasting tray out of the oven, flip the veg over (be gentle not to break them up) and place the roasting tin back in to the oven for a further 20 minutes.
After the remainder cooking time is done the pork is ready to rest for about 15 minutes. This leaves enough time to prepare apple cider the reduction.
Apple Cider Reduction
Choice of apple cider really depends on tastes. You could go for an expensive traditional apple cider or you could can choose a can of the worst. I chose something dry and of mid-market quality.
- About 150ml dry apple cider (depending on how much finish product you want)
- 50ml chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon corn flower mixed in to 25ml boiling hot water
- 2-3 knobs of unsalted butter
You really don’t need to do anything other than reduce the cider to achieve amazing flavour but chicken stock will fortify the flavour and cornflour gives it just a little bit of thickness and body. You can also reduce the cider even further for a more concentrated flavour but in I have gone for a lighter more delicate tang with this recipe.
Reduce the cider to about 2/3rds original volume in a hot saucepan. It’s okay to let it boil. Once the cider has reduced stir in the stock followed by the corn flour after bringing the liquid down to a low heat. Melt in the butter to give the sauce a rich silky texture and season with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Carve up the roast thinly place on warm plate with the vegetables and pour over with the cider reduction.
The next time I try this dish I am going to keep the skin of the pork and attempt to make crackling (I still haven’t got it right). A few thing slices of salty crackling drizzled in that silky sweet cider reduction is something I just have to try!
I will revise this recipe as I learn more about making this dish.