Crackle & Crunch
Christmas Day is not Christmas Day without a full roast pork lunch – at least that is the case in our family. After a decidedly Australian starter of fresh cooked prawns with squeezed lemon and icy-cold beer, an early afternoon pork roast has been the mainstay of our Christmas Day celebrations for as long as I can remember. It might seem incongruous to be eating a hot and heavy meal such as a roast dinner in the peak of an Australian summer, but I really can’t imagine eating anything else. Least of all a meal that prepares you so well for the compulsory afternoon naps that is part and parcel of Christmas Day.
I still maintain that what makes or breaks a good roast pork lunch is ultimately left to the crackle. The only thing that can be more disappointing on Christmas Day, apart from receiving more crochet hangers from Grandma, is inedible crackle. Whether it is soft and chewy (ewww) or teeth-breaking hard, inedible crackle goes against the very spirit of Christmas. My heart heaves with sadness at such a wasted opportunity for greatness; and so, I have included a recipe today that guarantees crackle that will not leave you disillusioned or at the dentist.
In regards to roast potato, I am not so picky. I’m as happy to eat potatoes that have been submerged in baking pan juices for the extent of their cooking, so they resemble drunken jewels of soft caramelisation as much as I enjoy a crunchy potato with pillowy insides. The latter takes a little more effort so I appreciate a crispy potato and raise my glass to the cook for taking the extra step to make them so.
Add some flavoursome green beans and peas (I recommend this recipe) and you have what I can only describe as the perfect nap inducing lunch this Christmas Day.
What constitutes Christmas Day lunch for you?
Roasted Loin of Pork with Crackliest Crackle
3kg boneless loin of pork (or 2.5kg trimmed)
1 quantity of stuffing
vegetable oil and table salt for rubbing
Make your stuffing. Preheat the oven to 220C.
You’ll need to make room for the stuffing in your boneless loin of pork. Remove the small fillet and any excess meat from around the loin of the pork. Reserve these pieces to add to a stir-fry or pan-fry at a later date.
With the point of a sharp knife, score the skin of the pork at 1.5cm intervals, about 3-5 mm deep – don’t score the meat.
Then, using the knife, separate the skin from the loin, leaving about 3cm joined. Place the stuffing down the middle. Roll the loin over the stuffing and into a complete log shape and secure with string.
Rub the skin generously with oil and salt. Place the meat on a rack in a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200C and bake for 50-55 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then cut the string and slice to serve.
Apricot & Mustard Stuffing
½ cup chopped dried apricot
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 loaf fresh uncut white bread
sea salt and cracked black pepper
Cut the crust from the loaf of bread and pulse in a food processor until breadcrumbs form. Take 1 ½ cups of fresh breadcrumbs, apricots, macadamia nuts, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
(adapted from donna hay magazine)
Crunchy Roast Potatoes
1.6kg bintje, pink-eye or kipfler potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces, or left whole if small
5tbs extra virgin olive oil
After you put the pork in the oven, put the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water, add some sea salt and place over a high heat for 12 minutes. The potato should still be hard in the middle but soft on the outside. Drain and cool for a few minutes, then place in a bowl with the oil and toss to combine.
You can rough up the surface of the potatoes for extra crunch by running a fork over the surface of each one. Spread the potatoes out in a roasting tin and roast for the last 30 minutes of the pork’s cooking time (at 200C). Turn every 5 minutes or so to ensure an even golden brown colour.
To check the potato is done, pierce with a small knife. It will glide in easily when cooked through. Sprinkle with sea salt.
(Adapted from Neil Perry’s Good Food)Share this on: