Cracking pork roast


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This is a seriously nostalgic recipe. I used to walk in after a weekend of ponies & fun and smell this wafting throughout our home. It was awesome. I close my eyes now & I can still smell equine & leather as SistaBliss and I brought our tack through the kitchen, completely stoked that we were about to tuck into a roast! If you don’t have similar feelings of nostalgia, perhaps now is the time to start making some?

I would absolutely recommend finding a specialist butcher in your area if you don’t already have one. Buying cuts of meat from large supermarkets guarantees a very average end result, as the people who are processing the carcasses are not nearly as passionate & knowledgeable as your friendly butcher. Butchers are wonderful people, I’ve never met a grumpy butcher (except that German bloke up Kloof St, but maybe that was because I fondled every stick of biltong in his shop) – perhaps it’s all that protein? Whatever it is, you butcher blokes are beauties!! *holds own hand & sings Kumbaya*


This is how it goes… (Serves 4-6)

a 2kg bone-in shoulder of pork, skin on (you can ask your lovely butcher to score it for you if you’re feeling like a girl?)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 onions, halved (red onions work best, but the regular guys are ok too)

2 carrots, peeled and sliced down the length

2 sticks of celery, sliced down the length

1 head of garlic, skin still on, pulled apart

7 fresh bay leaves (there are bay trees all around Cape Town, know your target & go for your badge)

600ml water or vegetable stock

And then…

As always, get your oven cranked up to 220°C.

Get your pork out of the fridge at least half an hour before it goes into the oven – it should ideally be at room temperature. The proteins are more relaxed, and you’ll get a better texture & flavour. Place the joint on a clean surface, skin-side up. Using a very sharp knife, score deep cuts through the skin & fat of the meat, but not so deep you cut the meat. Don’t be that person, seriously. If the butcher has tied the joint for you, cut around the string. Get your Maldon sea salt out & rub it into the scored skin, pulling the skin apart a bit if you need to. Get it in there!

Rub off any excess salt & turn it over & season the bottom with same gorgeous salt & freshly ground black pepper. Flip the joint over again & pop this guy into your roasting tray & bung him in the oven for 30 minutes. The skin is going to puff up in this time, and you’ll see the crackling start to, well, crackle. When this happens turn the heat down to 170°C, and cover the tray tightly with a double layer of foil. Pop it back in the oven & leave it be for a further 4 1/2 hours. Good stuff takes time so just take a chill pill in the meantime, my angels.

Take the pork out the oven & remove the foil – you’ll notice a good layer of oil in the bottom of the tray – baste your pork well with the fat, and then lift the pork up & onto a plate (try not to attack the pork at this point, it really is worth the wait!). Take out all but a spoon of the fat & reserve that for those amazing potato roasties I told you about. Put your veggies, garlic & bay leaves into the tray and stir them to coat them in that bit of fat that you left behind. Put the pork back into the tray on top of the veggies & return the tray back to the oven without the foil for the home-stretch 1 hour. By this time, your pork should be melting off the bone. It’ll be singing Take Me Now, but resist at all costs, ok?

Carefully transfer the meat to a serving dish, and cover with tin foil again & leave it to rest – this bit is important although most of us tend to smash the roast as soon as it comes out the oven. Spoon any fat in the tray away then add some water or stock to the veggies in the tray. Pop the tray on your hob or stove & bring this to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to scrape up all those gorgeous sticky bits on the bottom. Seriously, I’m starting to drool people! When you’ve got a nice gravy moment going on, squish all this yumminess through a sieve into a gravy boat. Cut up the crackling into smaller pieces so everyone can have a bit, and tear the meat apart. No need to slice this baby up too officially, just pull the meat apart, it’s that easy & chilled. I feel like I need to shout WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! Only this would be a pork dinner. Right.

If you’re into apple sauce, get some going why don’t you? I can never get the apple sauce to the table, I always end up smashing it before the roast is finished cooking. Shame, imagine how hungry my kids are going to be when I start reproducing one day? Two spoons for mummy, one spoon for Sweetheart, oh no? Three spoons for mummy. Fine!

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