With the cooler weather here, it's moving into the season of soups, stews and hearty, roasted meals and what a better way to start then by sharing my all-time favourite roast, the pork roast.
I have adapted this recipe from so many other roast recipes I have encountered over the years. I love Rachael Ray's recipe (image below), but to simplify things get your butcher to do the hard work and butterfly your roast for you (if you're using a shoulder or leg). If you've decided to use pork belly then you should be fine, and if you're keeping the crackling make sure you have a sharp knife so you can score the skin.
You will need..
1 bone-out pork leg or shoulder (2kgs worth)**
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
a handful of fresh sage leaves
2 cloves smoked garlic (or normal garlic)
200gr thinly sliced prosciutto
100gr sharp cheddar cheese or sheeps milk cheese, Manchego or similar is perfect
cracked black pepper
good quality salt
1 small butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes
1 sprig rosemary
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 cups rocket (about 100gr)
100gr feta, crumbled- I used marinated persian feta
2 tbs balsamic
2 tbs olive oil
1. For the pork, use a rolling pin, meat tenderiser or mallet to lightly bash the pork to a relatively even thickness, don't stress if its not perfect because you'll be rolling and trussing it.
2. Make sure the pork is lying skin-side down (so the chunky meat that was cut off the bone is facing upwards) and season with salt and pepper. Lie the sliced prosciutto over the pork in even strips then grate or thinly slice the cheese over the prosciutto. Cut the garlic into rough slices and sprinkle over the top, and finish with the picked sage, fennel and rosemary leaves
3. Start rolling the pork away from you into a tight roll. Try to make sure the filling stays where it is as you roll it. Have some kitchen string on hand and truss the pork using the method in this video. Keep the knots on the underside (where the seam is)
4. Once your pork is trussed, place on a baking tray, oil and season the outside and place in a hot oven at 180 degrees celsius for 2 hours. Rest for 10-20 minutes under foil before removing string, carving and serving.
5. While the pork is cooking, prepare your side dish by placing the pumpkin in a roasting tray with oil, seasoning and rosemary. Place in the oven for the last 10 minutes of the pork cooking time and then while the pork is resting turn the oven up to 220 degrees to bring the pumpkin to a golden brown colour. Remove once cooked.
6. Make the salad by combining the pumpkin, pine nuts, rocket and feta and lightly dressing with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Serve in a large bowl next to the carved pork for your guests to serve themselves family-style.
*You can use belly if you prefer but I find this can sometimes be too fatty for this kind of dish.
N.B. If you can't have pork without the crackling, I recommend following these tips for the ultimate pork crackling:
If you want to serve some roast potatoes with the dish, this is the only recipe to use;