This is really simple, but it takes a bit of planning to get the most out of your meat. Most importantly, first thing in the morning, cover the whole joint in salt. I use a combination of Table Salt and Rock Salt, just to keep things interesting. As you can see, it was still dark when we started on this. I allow about 5 hours for a pork to roast, depending on size. The one we had for Christmas Lunch took about 6 hrs, and went on before we even opened pressies!
Knowing that one of my dinner guests is gluten-intolerant, I had to pull the gluten-free flour out of hiding. For more Gluten-Free Goodness, visit The Gluten Free Girl.
Morning: Salt the Pork.
Midday: Preheat the oven to 230c, arranging one shelf quite low and one about halfway up, in anticipation of cooking the veges later.
Cut an onion into eighths and place on the bottom of a roasting dish, preferably with a small cooling rack to allow the fat and juices to drain off the meat. If you don't have one of these, or a large deep saucer, inverted, just chop up another onion into quarters and place these in the centre of the roasting dish.
Drain the juices from the pork into the roasting dish, then give the pork a generous coating of pepper and gluten-free flour on all sides.
Place in the tray on the rack/saucer/onion and put in the oven on the lower shelf. After about 30 mins, move the pork up to the higher shelf and turn the oven down to 190c. For the next 5 hours or so, you will simply have to turn the meat every hour and baste it with the juices from the bottom of the dish.
You can prep the veges anytime prior to the last 1 1/2 hrs of cooking, but they should be ready to go in for the last 90 mins. Do whatever veges you most love to roast. Last night's selection was: Little gourmet Potatoes ($1.40 for a 1kg bag at the market!); Kumera; Pumpkin; Carrot; Onion; a Capsicum; Courgettes; Garlic & Shallots.
All of these were tossed in salt, pepper, olive oil, and gluten-free flour, plus I added a big spoon of Garam Masala to the Pumpkin. Most of the veges then go into the oven at the T-90 mark on the lower shelf, and are turned half hourly. The Capsicum goes in for the last hour with extra salt, and the garlic only goes in for the last half hour. Afternoon: When the 5 hours is up, take the pork from the oven and allow to rest. If all has gone well, the crackling should just pull away from the joint. If you have as little willpower as me, lay this in a separate tray and place in the oven. The pork should have at least 10 minutes out of the oven before it is carved.
In this time, steam up a side of greens and mix up some gravy. For this, scrape all the sticky goodness from the roasting dish and place in a glass mixing jug. Mix up a couple of spoonfuls of gluten-free flour with cold water, then whisk up the pork trailings with the flour mix. Microwave this on high for a minute, stir thoroughly, repeat a couple of times until the gravy thickens. This can prove a little trickier with the gluten-free flour than you might be used to, but it does come together with persistence and practice. Alternatively, heat and thicken this in a small pot on the stovetop.
As you start to dish, switch the oven to a hot grill to absolutely blast the crackling. By the time you've sliced the meat and everyone is ready to eat, the crackling should be all crispy and delicious. Unless you have doctor's orders to the contrary, indulge and enjoy.
Then dig in, and watch it all disappear. We also had a jar of my Nana's stewed apples on hand, which went beautifully with the pork.
I've never gone this far recycling a pork roast before, but I figured I might as well give it a go.
Using the pork bone, peelings from the kumera and carrot and the roasted pumpkin skin, boil up a stock. Chop up the leftover veges and any remaining pork. Watch a movie while the stock brews. Blend up the veges, stock, leftover gravy and a couple of spoonfuls of apple, then add the chopped pork. It tastes as good as it sounds, with a little spice from the capsicum and the sweet tang of apple in there with all the meaty goodness of pork and roast pumpkin. Mmmm. It smells great, but its more than just the smell. Its the nom nom nom.
That's all for now. Tomorrow I'll be reviewing last night's entertainment, and the meal dished up for us by tonight's guest chef, Liz E. Bear, who is presently making Spaghetti Bolognaise. Watch this space...