I was all set for a roast pork dinner: the oven was pre heating, the pork shoulder joint was coming to room temperature, the wine was open and The West Wing was playing on my laptop in the kitchen. Yes I was all ready to get cracking except for one small thing – I’d forgotten to buy potatoes from Bridget at this morning’s car boot, bugger. Be they mashed or roasted, the humble spud is an integral part of our Sunday Roast.
Veg wise I had just 1 carrot, some celery tops with leaves and a couple of onions, I also had a packet of couscous in the larder, that’s a good start I figured and after a bit of garden foraging this dish was born. This method of roasting pork ensures really crispy crackling and meat that oozes juice and is so tender it can be cut with a spoon, well except for the crackling which is perfectly crispy.
For the pork:
- pork shoulder joint
- Halen Môn spiced salt
- fennel seeds
- cumin seeds
- 1 packet Spicentice Moroccan Lamb Tagine mix (found at back of cupboard, went out of date 3 months ago!)
- 1 large white onion finely sliced
- 3 handfuls chopped rhubarb from the garden
- 1 apple
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 600ml cloudy apple juice
- 5 apricots (once dried but have been steeping in brandy in my cupboard for 8 months or so)
- 1 tablespoon wildflower honey
For the couscous:
- 1 packet couscous
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- tops and leaves of one head celery
- chopped garden herbs: lots of various mints, fennel, parsley, chives (plus a few flowers from everything to garnish)
- skin from 1 preserved lemon, washed and finely chopped
- 2 tsp Essential Cuisine chicken stock powder
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
- handful dried sliced garlic
For the rose infused sheep’s curd:
- 1 pot Homewood Cheese Sheeps curd
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- Preheat oven to hottest setting. Make sure pork is at room temp, rub the spiced salt and fennel seeds into the scored and scorched skin then sprinkle with sumac.
- Put your sliced onion, rhubarb, apple, cumin seeds, tagine mix and cinnamon into a roasting tray, pour over the apple juice, mix then put your pork on top. Roast at the highest setting until the crackling is lovely and crispy then cover with foil and cook for about an hour or until the centre of the pork is cooked. Remove meat and leave it to rest covered in foil.
- Finely chop all your couscous ingredients. Put your stock powder, dried garlic slivers and couscous in a big bowl, stir then add boiling water (as much as the packet says – I usually aim for the water to be 1 inch higher than the couscous). Stir, cover with foil and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Then remove foil, fluff with fork then stir in all the remaining veg and herbs.
- Mix your rose water into the sheeps curd.
- That’s it really, to assemble just put your herb couscous on a plate, place a slice of juicy pork on top, a bit of crackling, a couple of spoonfuls of the wonderful gravy, dot with the rose infused sheep’s curd and scatter a few of your herb flowers over.