The loin of pork ranks amongst the tenderest and tastiest cuts on the animal. By far the best way to prepare it is to roast it. But, there are two classic ways to roast a loin of pork. The first of these is the British way, where you roast at high temperatures for a relatively short amount of time. This gives you perfect crackling. The second is the French method where you roast the meat slowly in wine for a long time. This does not crisp the pork skin and you get no crackling, but you do get a very moist and juicy joint of meat.
I present both these roasting techniques below.
Herbed Roast Pork with Crackling
1 loin of pork, (about 2kg), with the skin scored
small sprigs rosemary
small sprigs thyme
3 or 4 garlic coves, slivered
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1/2 small onion, chopped
freshly-ground black pepper
Always make certain that the skin of your pork loin is as dry as possible (otherwise you will never get good crackling). If the skin looks damp, dry it as best you can with kitchen paper and sprinkle with cornflour. Leave for ten minutes then dust-off the cornflour (cornstarch).
Place the meat on a chopping block and score the fat. Insert sprigs of thyme and rosemary along with the garlic into the score marks now rub as much of the salt as you can into the skin. Grind black pepper to season well. Spread the onion on the base of a roasting tin then place the meat either on top of this (or on a metal rack in the roasting tin. Place in the centre of an oven pre-heated to 240°C and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190°C and cook for a further 110 minutes.
You can, of course make a gravy from the pan juices to serve with your meat.
Roast Loin of Pork with Garlic
This is the classic French method of roasting a joint of pork. Compared with the traditional British method you end-up with juicier and more succulent meat but you do not get a crispy crackling.
1 loin of pork (about 1.5kg) boned and with rind removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp freshly chopped sage
generous pinch of ground allspice
1 garlic clove, slivered
150ml dry white wine or water
Place the meat in a large bowl or dish and liberally rub the salt, pepper, sage and allspice into the joint. Leave in a cool place for several hours or overnight if possible for the flavours to infuse. When ready lay the joint flat and place garlic slivers at regular intervals along the inside of the joint. When done roll the joint up and tie securely with butchers’ string.
Transfer to a roasting pan and add the wine or water. Cover with a lid or foil and place in an oven pre-heated to 150°C. Roast for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the juices are no longer pink when pierced with a skewer. Check the pan every now and then and if the joint becomes to dry add a little more water.
Take the joint out and place on a warm plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the string at this point and carve into slices. Arrange these on a warm serving platter.
Again you can make a gravy out of the pan juices to serve with the meat if you so wish.
You now have two truly classic and time-honoured methods for roasting pork. Which you chose to base your own recipes upon will depend on personal preference. Though you’re more than welcome to give both recipes a try.