Although its warm out there this week Autumn is definitely here. We have apples on the trees and our new season glut of lamb. Tender, sweet and mild tasting, the lambs have been out all summer on grass and have never known the hardship that winter brings. That winter changes their flavour. I love that change in taste, but I know not everyone does so if you fancy some milder tasting lamb September is the time. Go for it.
However the big treat in Autumn is Roast pork with Apple sauce, and with that roast pork comes salty, crispy, pork crackling. There was always a huge amount of swearing over the carving of the roast pork at home because it was never crispy enough and so was impossible to cut. Either the butcher did not score the fat correctly (my mother’s excuse) or it wasn’t cooked in a hot enough oven (my father’s excuse). Either way the pork was always dry in an effort to get the crackling right. Dry pork and chewy crackling – I grew up thinking pork was a penance.
It wasn’t until I went to Sunday lunch at a builder friend’s house that the light came on. He presented us with a perfect joint of pork with cross hatched crackling that you could pick off in little squares. Turns out he uses a stanley knife to score the fat and changes to a new blade each time for ideal results (perfectionist). The meat was juicy and full of flavour too, a totally different experience.
- 1 joint of Rolled pork leg, on or off the bone.
- Any size more than 1kg, Moray, the butcher here, will score the fat for crackling automatically.
- fennel seeds (optional)
- Score the fat on the joint in a cross hatched pattern. Cut right through the fat almost to the meat. Rub salt and fennel seeds over the scored skin.
- Cook in a hot oven (220C) for 20 mins per 500g on the bone or 25 mins per 500g if off the bone. The crackling should bubble up when its cooked. Pierce the thickest part of the meat with a skewer and if the juices run clear its done. Be careful, its easy to over cook pork and then it goes dry.
- If the crackling is cooked before the meat put some tinfoil over it while the meat finishes cooking.
- You can roast veg and potatoes round the joint.