As roasts go, I
think pork is pretty hard to beat (although this is at least partly because I
absolutely adore crackling). It's also much easier than it sounds - in fact, I
reckon this goes for nearly all roasts. Sunday lunch has a reputation for being
stressful and difficult to prepare, but I promise that this is pretty much as
easy as it gets. For a special occasion, you could add all sorts of fancy sides
to this, but here I've just gone for some absolutely amazing roast potatoes,
and one of my favourite simple veg dishes - boiled peas and carrots with
butter, wholegrain mustard and a pinch of sea salt.
A piece of
boneless pork shoulder, with the skin on, approximately 1 kg
A spoonful of
jam (plum, blackberry or similar)
First of all, to
make sure you get really good crackling, you should dry out the skin in
advance. Use kitchen paper to blot the skin, then cover with a thin but even
layer of salt (to draw out moisture) and leave to stand for about 30 minutes,
before wiping most of the salt off with kitchen paper and blotting again. If
you can, repeat this step.
Preheat the oven
to 180C. Begin by working out how long your piece of meat needs to be in the
oven for - you should allow 30 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 45 minutes (this
includes ten minutes of resting time at the end). Use the point of a sharp
knife to carefully score the skin of the pork before sprinkling with freshly
ground black pepper and plenty of salt (this will help it crisp up). Place in
the oven and set your timer.
your roast potatoes - see my How To page for the full method, but bear in mind
that since the oven is on a lower temperature for this recipe, you should allow
an extra ten minutes, making 70 minutes in total.
When you have
about half an hour left on your timer, get started on the gravy - again, you
can a find my full method for absolutely gorgeous gravy on the How To page.
It's worth allowing plenty of time to make your gravy so that the flavours can
Once the gravy
is at the simmering stage, peel and finely slice the carrots and pop into a pan
of boiling water with the peas. Boil for ten minutes (I like my peas soft, but
if you like them with a bit of a bite, make it seven minutes).
there are about ten minutes to go, take the roast pork out of the oven and
remove the crackling with the aid of a sharp knife (you'll probably find it
doesn't take much encouragement to peel away from the meat, by this stage). Lay
the crackling on a piece of tinfoil, fold up the edges to keep any juices in,
and pop it back in the oven with your potatoes. Turn the temperature up to 200C
for the last bit. In the meantime, cover the pork with more foil and set aside.
This resting stage allows the meat to relax after the heat of the oven, so that
it's juicier and more tender.
To serve, cut
the pork and crackling into slices (you'll probably find it easier to cut the
crackling with scissors than with a knife) and dish up with plenty of crisp,
golden roasties, peas and carrots. Pour the dark fragrant gravy over the top,
and don't forget a big glass of wine for the chef. Cheers!