Classic Roast Pork with Crackling and Roasted Stuffed Apples with Thyme and Parsley
This recipe is for loin of pork which provides maximum crackling, but the butcher must chine it for you - that is, loosen the bone yet leave it attached, so that it can eventually be cut away to make carving easier. How to get crisp, crunchy crackling is not a problem if you follow a few simple guidelines. Buy the pork a couple of days before you need to cook it, remove any plastic wrap, put it on a plate immediately and dry it as thoroughly as possible with absorbent kitchen paper. After that, leave it uncovered in the lowest part of the fridge so that the skin can become as dry as possible before you start the cooking.You will find the recipe for roasted apples at the bottom of this page.
This recipe is from Delia's Winter Collection. Serves 8
While the oven is pre-heating, score the skin of the pork. It will be scored already, but it's always best to add a few more lines. To do this you can use the point of a very sharp paring knife, or Stanley knife, or you can now even buy a special scalpel from a good quality kitchen shop!
What you need to do is score the skin all over into thin strips, bringing the blade of the knife about halfway through the fat beneath the skin. Now place the pork in a tin, skin-side up, halve the onion and wedge the two pieces in slightly underneath the meat. Now take about 1 tablespoon of crushed salt crystals and sprinkle it evenly over the skin, pressing it in as much as you can.
Then place the pork on a high shelf in the oven and roast the joint for 25 minutes. After that turn the heat down to gas mark 5, 375 F (190 C) and calculate the cooking time, allowing 35 minutes to the pound. In this case it would be 21/2 hours. There's no need to baste pork as there's enough fat to keep the meat moist. The way to tell if the meat is cooked is to insert a skewer in the thickest part and the juices that run out should be absolutely clear without any trace of pinkness.
When the pork is cooked, remove it from the oven and give it at least 30 minutes' resting time before carving.
While that is happening, tilt the tin and spoon all the fat off, leaving only the juices. The onion will probably be black and charred, which gives the gravy a lovely rich colour. Leave the onion in, then place the roasting tin over direct heat, turned to low, sprinkle in the flour and quickly work it into the juices with a wooden spoon.
Now turn the heat up to medium and gradually add the cider and the stock, this time using a balloon whisk until it comes up to simmering point and you have a smooth rich gravy.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, then discard the onion and pour the gravy into a warmed serving jug.
Serve the pork carved into slices, giving everyone some crackling and one roasted apple.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 9, 475 F (240 C).
You will also need a solid roasting tin, approximately 12 x 10 inches (30 x 25.5 cm).