Mmmmmm slow cooked pork, stuffed with an aromatic filling. For reasons that will become clear, I’m calling this ‘Porchetta Inglese’ (with apologies for any incorrect use of Italian there).
The last thing I did on Saturday night before collapsing into bed after our day at the Olympics was to got a leg of pork out of the freezer on Saturday night with no particular ideas in mind, just knowing that we had to eat the following day and that I would probably be knackered. The fact that I remembered to do this is to be applauded – otherwise we would just have had gooseberry and elderflower cake. No great problem in itself, I guess…
Anyway, yesterday was hot, hot, hot. I wasn’t particularly in the mood for a big, traditional roast dinner, so I picked up Forever Summer for inspiration. I was thinking slow roasting on the basis that although the oven would be on for longer, I could just whack the meat in, leave it there and get on with something else.
Unfortunately, by the time I got round to consulting recipe books it was already after lunch, and bearing in mind I was aiming for the kids to have a reasonably early night, there didn’t seem to be much time for slow roasting. However, Forever Summer practically fell open at the recipe for Porchetta, and it looked good. So what that I wouldn’t have 24 hrs to marinade the meat in the fridge prior to cooking: my joint was slightly smaller than that specified, and I had (just) the cooking time.
In order to make use of the beautiful sage that I have in the garden at the moment, and with an eye on making a more English tasting meal for our French guest, I changed the stuffing, and made a mixture using sage and Bramley apple rather than rosemary bay and garlic. Hence Porchetta Inglese. I did leave in the ground cloves though, from the original recipe. I had some shallots from the garden that needed eating up because they hadn't dried properly so would have rotted if we'd tried to store them, so i peeled and split them and roasted the pork on top of them. And finally, to add to the ‘English’ experience for our guest, I rubbed salt and fennel seed into the skin that I had removed, and roasted it in a very hot oven so that we could have crackling.
1.5-2kg boned leg of pork (The Goddess uses boned shoulder and neck)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cooking apple, peeled and diced quite small
Large handful of sage leaves, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Salt and pepper
Some peeled shallots if you have them
Pre-heat the oven to 1800C/1600 fan.
Deal with your joint of meat: using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin and fat. If you know that you are going to be doing this with your joint, you could get the butcher to do it for you, although remember to take the skin home with you if you want to make crackling too. Then, if necessary, slice further into the middle of the joint, where the bone was to enable you to flatten the piece of meat out, then bash it with a rolling pin/meat tenderiser till it's approx 3 cm flat.
It might take some bashing, and approx is fine - bear in mind that you wil be rolling it up around some stuffing, and tying it with string, so it needs to be a big enough piece of meat after you've bashed it to do this.
Make your stuffing. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, and cook the onion for a few minutes till it's softening. Add the apple, sage, fennel seed and ground cloves and carry on cooking till the apple is starting to look soft and it all smells lovely.
Let the stuffing cool a bit, then spread it inside the meat. Once you've done this, you need to roll the meat up and tie it with string at intervals to hold it together. Not the easiest - if you've got a handy helper around, all the better.
If you have any shallots (I did), peel them, break them into their individual 'cloves' and put int he bottom of your roasting tin. Put the meat in the tin (on top of the shallots if you are using them), grind over some salt and pepper, splosh on some olive oil, and put in the oven for 3-4 hours. Check after 2 hours and if the meat is browning too much, cover with some foil.
When the meat is cooked it will fall apart and be totally delicious.
The recommended way of eating this is in big floury ciabatta rolls, but as the garden is in full flow at the moment, we ate it more conventionally with new potatoes, and steamed carrots and beans, freshly picked (smug).
Now I am linking this up to 3 linkys this month...
First, you guessed it, Forever Nigella#18 - fridge raider snacks. If you can't imagine how delicious this meat would be cold, picked straight from the cooler in a slinky dressing gown, then you really shouldn't be cooking this. I love cold roast meat, and I can confirm that this definitely hits the spot.
Secondly, because of the lovely garden sage I used in the stuffing, l am linking up to Lavender and Lovage's Herbs on a Saturday. 2 links to this gorgeous blog at once...
Finally, I think this is worthy of an entry on to Funky Foodies.