Nothing shouts winter more than a good old fashioned roast. Personally, I love a roast because the oven keeps the house warm, and the roast meat is always equally, if not more delicious, on sandwiches the next day. This recipe is a pork roast with an apple twist, which I found in one of Jamie Oliver’s first recipe books. I love Jamie’s recipes almost as much as I love a roast. That’s a lot! He makes this one with half a pork loin (rib end), but I use a rolled pork shoulder because it’s covered in fat for crackling. You can use whatever cut takes your fancy. Instead of whipping up an apple sauce to accompany the roast, the twist here is to use stuffed whole apples cooked underneath the roast. My goodness, what an idea!
Pork Roast (serves 4)
Half a pork loin (rib end) or 1-1.5kg rolled pork shoulder
6 large parsnips, peeled and cut once lengthways
4 whole, small red onions, skin peeled
1 TB olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Big handful of fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon allspice
Generous ½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 cloves garlic
Zest of one medium-sized orange
4 small apples (most varieties will do)
Preheat oven to 220C. Score the skin on the meat – make sure your scoring goes as deep into the skin as possible, about 1cm deep depending on the thickness. Rub olive oil and lashings of salt in to the scored skin. Parboil parsnips and red onions in boiling salted water for no longer than five minutes. Both vegetables tend to cook quickly. With a pestle and mortar, mash together the sage, allspice, nutmeg, garlic, orange zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. When everything is mashed to a pulp, add butter and mix thoroughly. Run a knife horizontally around the centre of each apple. Cut out the cores without piercing through the apples; we want to create a well for our herb and spice butter. Pack the butter into the well of each apple. Smear any of the remaining butter over the outside of the pork. Place the apples in a roasting dish, butter side down. Pop in parboiled parsnips and red onions. Place the pork on top of the apples. Put the dish in the centre of the oven or just above. Cook for 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, remove the pork and place on a plate. Turn the oven down to 180C. Carefully toss the onions and parsnips in all the aromatic juices, making sure that the apples stay intact. Put the pork back on top and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes.
When done, remove the pork and allow to rest covered for about 10 minutes. Pink juice means the meat is likely medium-rare so cook longer if desired. In this time you could steam some green vegetables and also toss in the juices, or make gravy. Smell the sweet pork goodness and decide what works best for you. Bon Appétit!