If anyone has been reading my posts, you’ll know by now that one of my favorite feeds is PORK – I’m always trying to master it.
Crackling is hit & miss for me – sometimes it works, other times it is pretty crappy – although my 2nd born will eat it no matter how it comes out!
Yesterday I tried a new recipe, as I do, always trying new ones to master the art. Well Well Well!! THIS was heavenly!! I did Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Pork Loin Roast with Crackling and teamed it up with Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze. It was SO good! The boys devoured it and wouldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful the flavours were – how crackly the crackle was, how tender the meat.. the veggies were to die for!
I know that some people are not overly happy to watch youtube videos or the likes for a recipe, but I am more of a visual person and I like to see HOW the pro’s do it. Jamie Oliver is one of my favorites when it comes to fail-proof food, followed closely by the controversial Gordon Ramsay. The passion they have for food excites me and I seem to power through as though I’m some kind of pro cook! Haha!! Through watching these guys (and others) I have learned to RESPECT the ingredients I am using – the difference in my food is amazing!
Anyway here are some progress pics. The vegetable Recipe will be written out at the end, the Pork I will describe via the pictorial. DO try this, I can’t put it in words just how succulent, how tasty, how heavenly it really is!! Read the comments on Jamie’s video – some people have summed it up there just nicely – especially the guy who found love through this dish!
Arrange your oven racks so you have room to put the roast in – and one on top for the crackling!
Preheat the oven to 180C (350f)
I had a 1.5kg boneless roast. First thing to do was to cut the rind off – I’m a bit choppy with this but it came off easily. On the flesh part, scored the top (see vid).
Outside to my herb garden to pick some fresh rosemary and thyme, and chopped it up finely. This is sprinkled on the fat of both cuts. Salt and pepper to season. Place the crackling into a preheated (hot)fry pan, fatty side down, to sear. Drooling starts!
Remove the crackling and put aside.
Place the fleshy piece into the fry pan, fatty side down, sear.. turn.. sear.. turn a few times.
Then add half a bottle of balsamic vinegar. (Note here: I used a maple bourbon balsamic vinegar (available here) – because I had it.. it was sensational – if you want that flavour you could add some honey or some maple syrup to the vinegar at this stage)
Turn the heat down to medium and cook the meat in the pan for a while allowing the vinegar and juices to combine. Place the meat into a baking dish (You’ll see I use a foil dish – saves washing up!), pour the juices over the meat add the 12 (yes 12!) garlic cloves – I chopped them in half – and pop into the oven.
Place the crackling, fat side down directly onto the rack above the roast – as it shows in the video – the fat drips down onto the meat – OMG it’s good!!
WATCH your crackling – that you don’t burn it – remove it when ready and rest on a cooling rack. I DID add a little salt during cooking.. not lots, just enough.
Jamie says to cook the roast around 70 minutes, TURNING occasionally – I did.. it came out like this! Drool is now hitting the floor! The smell is amazing!!
Remove the meat, cover with foil, and rest.
Strain the juices into a jug, when the fat rises, drain it off – as Jamie suggests, I put it into a jar for future use! OH YUM!
While my meat was resting I did the veggies. Change the oven temp to 200C (400F)
Parboiled some potato to start with as I like the shake method to get them crisp! Ie.. once partially cooked, shake them up to roughen the edges.
Veggies I used were just whatever I had, and can be anything you like really. I used an onion, quartered, red capsicum, green capsicum (just a few pieces of each), potato, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin & zucchini. Toss them in the garlic/oil mix & place on a tray (yet another foil one) and into the oven for ‘as long as it took’ to get them looking perfect (to me).
The ‘sauce’ for this had me a little worried – it looked like it would curdle. I used some mayo in it as suggested – and it was a bit of a worry. It DID combine well in the end to create a smooth sauce.
Serving time.. the meat – carved – looked SO professional! I impressed myself. By now the adult ‘kids’ were begging for their feed! I reheated the ‘gravy’ from the meat in the microwave. Served up – oh wow!!! Son 2 likes his crackling in a bowl – not touching any gravy:
Son1 likes no crackling – it feels a bit like an insult to the food!
We then sat down and dined.. and it was 10/10, 5 star, fantastic!!!
I have leftovers for lunch today 😉 Oh yeh!!!
Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze
2 large sweet onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
8 ounces carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into 1-inch slices
8 ounces fingerling potatoes, halved
1 head garlic, cloves separated and left unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons country Dijon mustard (see Cook’s Note)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200C).
In a large bowl, toss the onions, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, fingerling potatoes and garlic with the oil, salt and pepper on a large jelly roll pan. Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast, stirring once halfway through, until tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the garlic from the skins before serving.
For the glaze: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until the glaze is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Serve over the vegetables or as a dipping sauce.
Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood Food Network
Cook’s Note: Country Dijon is a milder, creamier version of Dijon mustard. If country Dijon is not available, mix 1 teaspoon regular Dijon with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise.