Loin pork is a delicious, moist cut and easy to carve. Good crackling is all about the preparation before it goes into the oven: the oil will crisp the skin and the salt draws out extra moisture, drying it out and, of course, adding flavour. I have taken the crackling off the joint and cut it into strips to get it very crisp.
COOK TIME 1½ hours
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1.5kg (3lb) loin of pork, boned and rolled, skin scored (see tips)
a large pinch of salt
2 large onions, sliced
FOR THE GRAVY
50g (2oz) butter
3 tbsp plain flour
200ml (7fl oz) white wine
300ml (10fl oz) hot chicken stock
2 tsp redcurrant jelly
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7, then add half the sunflower oil to a roasting tin and place in the oven to heat up.
2 Dab the skin of the pork with kitchen paper to remove any moisture, then rub the rest of the sunflower oil and a large pinch of salt into the skin. Remove the roasting tin from the oven, add the sliced onions and toss them in the hot oil. Push the onions into the centre of the tin to make a little pile and sit the pork on top.
3 Roast in the oven for about 1 hour 20 minutes or until the juices run clear and the skin of the pork is golden and nearly crisp.
4 Remove from the oven. Using a small sharp knife, remove the crackling from the loin in one piece. Use a sharp pair of scissors to snip the crackling into long, thin strips. Arrange the strips on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven to crisp up for about 5-10 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden and crisp all over (see tips). Meanwhile, cover the pork with foil and leave to rest while you make the gravy.
5 Discard the onions. Add the butter, melt the flour into the fat in the tin and stir into a roux over a medium heat. Pour in the wine and stock, then bring to the boil and stir until the gravy has thickened and reduced by a third. Stir in the redcurrant jelly so that it dissolves, and add the Worcestershire sauce. Strain through a fine sieve into a warmed jug.
6 Serve slices of pork with pieces of crunchy crackling and the gravy and, if you like, with some apple sauce on the side.
♥ Any leftovers are delicious served cold the next day.
MARY’S CLASSIC TIPS
♥ If you’re buying your pork from a butcher, ask them to score the skin for you with their super-sharp knives. Plenty of scored lines means more surface area to get golden and crisp.
♥ If the pork skin is already quite crispy when it comes out of the oven, arrange the crackling strips on the baking tray with the paler, fattier side upwards to let this side crisp more.