Pork with Crispy Crackling

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Everything The Chef cooks is brilliant, though the one thing he excels at is the at-home classic roast. We don’t eat a lot of meat week to week, though we do enjoy a roast treat. Follow The Chef’s easy technique for the most beautiful, succulent and crispy roast. You’ll be surprised just how east it is too.

Ingredients

  • 2 kg pork shoulder (which is often cheapest cut), pork leg or pork belly. you can also use this technique using lamb or beef.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Method:

  • Place the pork skin side up in a baking pan with high sides. If using a small piece of meat, you could even place in a cake pan
  • This next step is the most important to ensuring a crispy crackling. With paper towel, pat the skin dry to remove all moisture
  • Sprinkle the skin with salt
  • Place in the refrigerator uncovered overnight or at least a couple of hours.
  • Preheat oven to 25o degrees Celsius (fan forced)
  • Remove from the fridge and drizzle skin with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt
  • Ensure pork is sitting level so that it cooks evenly. If not level, prop up with a wedge of onion or potato
  • Fill the baking pan with cold water, just enough to come up to cover the pork but not touching the skin
  • Place in the oven on the middle shelf to bake for 30 minutes
  • The skin should start to crisp
  • After 30 mins or until the water is bubbling, remove the pan from the oven and carefully tip the water into a pot (reserve and use it to make soup later)
  • Refill the pan with fresh cold water, this time approximately half the amount of water as before is enough.
  • Place pan back in the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  • After this 15 minutes of baking, check the pork every 5 mins. It will begin to brown on top and crackle. It is important to watch it closely so that it doesn’t burn. You may find it is ready after 5 mins, or you may find it needs approx. 15 more mins.
  • If the skin doesn’t seem to be crisping, turn on the overhead grill section to blast it with heat from above. Take care that the heat doesn’t over colour one particular area of the pork. To prevent this from happening, rotate the pan when there is enough colour in one spot of the meat.
  • Remove from the oven and drain the water, again keeping in a bowl to use as a stock.
  • Rest the pork for at least 15 minutes before carving to make sure it stays deliciously juicy. If you slice the pork before this time, the juices simply all flow out of the meat onto the cutting board. Such a waste!
  • The juice collecting in the bottom of the pan should be a pale pink colour. If it is red, pop the meat back in the oven for another 10 mins at 100 degrees Celsius and rest again.
  • When you carve the pork, don’t be afraid if it is light pink, such as that in the photograph.
  • Serve with steamed greens and polenta, baked vegetables, pasta, rice, carrots, peas, eggplant, pumpkin or maybe my delicious baked potato or lentils
  • The next day, use it for sandwiches or our favourite is to slice thinly and place into a bowl of cooked noodles covered with hot stock for a delicious Asian soup.

In  a nutshell

  • Remove the moisture and use salt to crisp the skin.
  • Refrigerate before cooking to remove moisture
  • Use the water to cook the flesh gently while the skin crisps.
  • Rest the meat to lock in the juices and flavour.

Nutrition:

Pork is lower in fat than most meats and is a good source of protein, thiamine (Vitamin B1) and zinc. The crackling is very high in fat, so remove if you are watching your waistline.

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Please forgive my photos, my camera is in the hospital.

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