Adobe Stock | Photo by Michael Lee
For family dinners in the Hudson Valley, few things can beat well-prepared roast pork and sides that use fresh local ingredients.
You can’t have crackling without the pig skin, but sadly it has become quite difficult to buy a piece of pork with the rind still intact to make delicious crackling. It needs to be ordered ahead from the butcher, so do your bit and insist on getting it so that this essential part of the enjoyment of roast pork does not die out!
Traditional Roast Pork with Crackling and Applesauce
6 lb loin of pork, with skin
1 tbsp butter
¾ cup chopped onion
2 cups soft white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, savory, perhaps very little sage or rosemary)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2½ cups homemade chicken stock
Fresh herbs (optional)
Note: For really good crackling, score the skin at ¼-inch intervals running with the grain—let your butcher do this if possible, because the skin can be quite tough. (This will also make it easier to carve later.)
Sweat the onions gently in the butter for 5–6 minutes.
When they are soft, stir in the breadcrumbs, freshly chopped herbs, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Let finished stuffing cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Put the pork joint, skin side down, on your work surface and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Spread the stuffing over the meat, roll up tightly and tie with cotton string. Season the rind with salt.
Roast on a rack, allowing 28–30 minutes per 1lb. Baste every now and then.
Just before the end of cooking time remove the pork to another roasting pan, return it to the oven and turn up the temperature to very hot—450ºF, to get crisp crackling. When the roast is cooked the juices should run clear. You should never eat pork pink.
Put the pork onto a hot carving dish and let rest in a very cool oven while you make the gravy in the original roasting pan.
Spoon off the fat from the original roasting pan and add the chicken stock. Whisk to dissolve the deposits on the pan. Bring to a boil. Season and thicken with a little roux, if desired.
Freshly chopped herbs may be added to the gravy.
Serve with crispy, roast potatoes and lots of Hudson Valley applesauce.