Italian Pork Roast
Ingredients (8 persons)
1 3-4kg or 7-9 lb loin of pork, on the bone
4 tablespoons fennel seeds
3 small dried chilies, crumbled
3 tablespoons rock salt, crushed
4 or 5 bay leaves, torn
1 lemon, zested and halved
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sticks of celery, washed and roughly chopped
2 carrots, washed and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bulb of garlic, broken into cloves, unpeeled
12 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
2 wine glasses of white wine
565 ml or 1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to its highest setting.
Place boned and scored loin of pork, skin side down, on a chopping board.
Using a pestle and mortar, a coffee grinder or a metal bowl with a rolling pin, smash up the fennel seeds with the chilies and rock salt until you have a fine powder, then add the torn bay leaves and small those up too. Mix in the lemon zest.
Sprinkle it evenly all over the pork meat covering it completely. Roll the belly around the loin and tie it tightly with 5 or 6 pieces of string to keep it all in place.
Scatter the bones over the bottom of a snug-fitting appropriately-sized roasting try and put the loin of pork on top.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the skin and season with salt, rubbing it into the scores.
Place in the preheated oven, close the door immediately, turn the oven down to 180 (C) / 350 (F) / gas 4. This way you will start the crackling off really hot and fast and the skin will puff up. The reduced temperature will then cook the meet through nice and evenly, keeping it moist at the same time. It will need to roast for about 2 1/2 hours -- feel free to leave it for a bit longer if you like. It just means the pork will be a bit drier but it will still be tasty.
When the meat has been cooking for an hour, add the roughly chopped celery, carrots and onion to the try with the broken-up bulb of garlic, the whole rosemary sprigs and the wine. Give the tray a shake to get some fat on to the vegetables.
When the pork is cooked, remove it from the tray and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. You will have some nice roasted root vegetables and sticky goodness left in the bottom of the try from which you can make a gravy.
Pour off the fat and add a little of your stock. In Italy, gravey light so this would be the consistency you're after.