Late on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with the oven having finally condescended to hit the proper temperature – and stay there – a piece of pork was gently laid on the rack of the roasting tray, scored fat thoroughly seasoned, and placed into 220˚C of heat.
It had been bought the previous day on Broadway Market as a rolled, boned joint. But since this was English Food à la Jane Grigson’s book, I’d cut the string that bound it, stretched it out and seasoned it all over – paying particular attention to the boned side. Then it was covered in foil on a plate and popped back into the fridge.
The meat got 20 minutes at that temperature, before it was lowered to 160˚C (or the fan oven equivalent). At just over a kilo in weight, it was due to have another hour cooking.
In the event, after spearing the joint with a skewer after that hour, and finding the juices running pink, I gave it another 15 minutes.
But for that hour, it was accompanied by two Cox apples, skin scored near the top to prevent them from bursting.
In the meantime, a peeled, quartered parsnip was also roasting away in some lard, on the basis (a bit of a guess, this) that since the temperature was on the low side, it would need longer.
Small potatoes had been peeled carefully, then boiled for 20 minutes (they’re so solid, they don’t fall apart), and were then tipped into a small gratin dish with some melted lard and roasted in an oven that had been whacked back to really hot after the meat (and apples) had been taken out to rest.
I had wondered about adding Yorkshire pudding, after The Other Half pointed out that there really is nothing that says it can only be served with beef. But I decided that the temperatures worked against me on that count – 20 minutes resting time was enough to finish the potatoes decently, but wouldn’t be enough for a pud.
In that last stage, sliced leek was sautéed and then steamed, while gravy was made in the roasting dish, with the fat poured away and flour added to the meat residues, before a brief deglaze with white wine and then a little stock.
The parsnip was overdone – my guesswork really hadn’t worked – but that was the only downside. The pork – although the rind hadn’t crackled – was delicious and moist. The leek was a perfect – if clichéd – compliment, and the roasted apples were a really pleasant change from the more usual sauce.
If I’d thought more and planned better, I’d have got some cider in for the gravy. But there you go.
That’s probably the first time I’ve done a roast dinner on successive Sundays – and by the end of it, I was dripping with sweat! This cooking malarkey probably makes you lose weight!