Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spiced Orange Crusted Roast Pork

At the end of last week I had some courgettes and tomatoes left over from the previous week that were possibly a tad tired but otherwise perfectly edible. Not wanting to throw them away I decided I would buy some peppers and aubergine and roast the lot together with onions, garlic and herbs and make me a lovely robust chick pea salad for lunchboxes. By cooking them Sunday night with a roast the oven only needed to be on for one session.

Idly surfing the culinate website I came across a recipe for a spice rub for pork - and that was me sold on what this week's roast was going to be. It would go so well with the salad - and be a good dinner Sunday. Their version calls for pork leg but I decided to use boned pork shoulder instead. The meat is relatively fatty, which makes for juicy, tender, and flavorful roasts as well as clogged arteries. Might as well enjoy getting there! Pork shoulder is not a strong-tasting meat, but it stands up to many other ingredients anyway - the fat marbling means it trades flavors with whatever is in the same vessel and happily takes on pungent flavours.

I made the rub Saturday and left it in the fridge till late Sunday. The result was sublime - hot and cold.

Spiced Orange Crusted Pork

2 tsp. fennel seeds
3 star anise
1 tsp. dill seeds
Sea salt and black peppercorns
2 crushed fresh bay leaves
Handful of fresh dill, chopped
Zest of 2 oranges, grated
Olive oil
1 Tbsp. Pernod
2kg. boned shoulder of pork, untied
1 onion, sliced

In a mortar, crush the fennel seeds coarsely with the star anise, dill seeds, sea salt, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. Add the fresh dill and orange zest and stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub the paste well into the opened-out pork where the bone has been removed and all over the outside of the meat and into the crevices where the fat has been slashed. Concentrate on the inside of the roast, the fat, and the ends. Splosh on a bit of Pernod and put the roast skin side down onto a rack and cover loosely with greasproof paper. Leave in the refrigerator, overnight if you can.

Bring the meat to room temperature before you roll it up and tie it with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Rub generous amounts of salt into the skin. Place the joint on top of the sliced onion in a roasting pan. Sprinkle some sea salt over the roast and put it in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes hot as you can, then baste the roast and turn the oven down to Gas 4/375 degrees.

Keep basting the meat till it is cooked through - it will take about 2 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Scrape the blackened onions from the base of the pan and drain on some kitchen paper before serving with the meat.

I just made some mashed sweet potatoes and steamed courgettes to accompany the roast - the lightness of the veg offset the flavour of the pork very well indeed.

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