Thursday, 16 May 2013

Thursday 16th of May 2013

A simple roast tonight, just a lovely piece of pork shoulder, some baked potatoes and one vegetable; some sprightly-looking spring greens that I couldn't resist when I was out shopping..

Take a whole head of garlic, the cloves separated but unpeeled, two or three lemons, quartered, and 3 shallots, skins left on and halved. Add to this several fresh bay leaves and, if you can, a pig's trotter, split. I get these easily from my butcher, and they cost next to nothing (and often actually nothing).  Rest the pork on top, I unrolled the joint to allow for quicker cooking and maximum output of crackling. Pour over a little oil, then sprinkle with crumbled dried bay leaves (I dry the leaves from our bay tree in the microwave, giving them 30-second bursts until dry and crunchy) and a good grinding of white pepper. Obviously the cooking time will vary based on the size of your joint; I work on 20 minutes per pound (or 450g, if you prefer) in a hot oven.

Pouring a glass of white wine over the pork after about 20 minutes and later still adding 350ml, give or take, of stock (I used pork stock, but chicken would be fine too, as well as fine crackling (the secret to which, strange as it seems, is regular basting with the juices from the roasting tin) it produced an easy gravy that was not as thick and meaty as some, but aromatic and flavoursome with a kick of sharpness from the lemon.  Hubby wasn't as keen on this as he is on my more usual thicker and 'meatier' gravies, but the children and I adored it.  When the pork is cooked and resting, strain the juices into a saucepan.  Add a splash of boiling water to the roasting pan and, with a wooden spoon, scrape up the 'burny'- looking tasty bits from the bottom.  Strain this liquid into the pan too, then cover and boil hard for a few minutes to emulsify the gravy.  Season to taste and pour into a warmed jug.

Serve the pork, sliced, with shards of crackling, baked potatoes and simple steamed greens.  Perfect.

Cath xx

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