Tender, juicy roast pork with crispy golden crackling and a gravy that will have you begging for more!! You don’t need amazing culinary skills to prepare this meal and prepping time is minimal. There’s just a few key steps to follow; don’t worry, they’re easy!!
Finally, l get to post my roast pork recipe!! This has been a lengthy, if not very expensive exercise due to 2 power blackouts (power failures) which occurred several days apart. Without refrigeration for an extended period of time, l had to throw out, not one, but 2 pork loins.
No electricity! No refrigeration! No pork loin!
So, after much perseverance and expense, l bring you my Roast Pork with Crispy Golden Crackling Mark III.
While timing is important, your best asset for checking readiness are your eyes.
To start with, I give the pork an initial blast at the highest oven temperature for 30 minutes, then l turn down the heat to 170 C / 340 F for 1 hour.
Once the roasting time is complete, l pierce the thickest part of the pork with a skewer. If juices ooze clear (this is where your eyes come in), it’s time to remove the tray from the oven. If not, return tray to the oven. Check in 5-8 minute intervals, depending on the pinkness of the juices.
Although not essential, a meat thermometer can also come in handy. l aim for a core temperature of 65 C / 150 F (see note 7). Even so, I still prefer to use my eyes!
Crispy Golden Crackling
Roast pork just isn’t the same without that outer layer of crispy crackling. Here are a few tips that will help you get that crackling right.
- If you have bought a rolled pork loin, unroll and discard the string. It’s much easier to achieve even crackling over a flat surface (see photo).
- Thoroughly dry the pork skin with paper towels. Rub salt, pepper and toasted fennel seeds into the skin, getting right into the cracks, as well as the underside of the pork. If you can begin the day before and allow it to dry overnight, that’s great. Rub in the olive oil just before placing the pork in the oven.
- Turn your oven on as high as it will go and roast for 30 minutes to get the crackling started.
- If, by the end of roasting time, you haven’t quite achieved the crackling you wanted (this can happen), turn on the oven grill/broiler 200 C / 400 F until you see the skin blister and crackle. A word of warning, once you’ve turned up the heat, you need to watch it like a hawk as the skin can burn very quickly.
Despite the set backs, l am so glad l could post this recipe.
Hopefully, yours won’t cost as much as mine did!
Preparation Time: 15 minute
Cooking Time: 1.5 hours
Servings: 4 – 6
- 1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs pork loin (no bone) (note 1)
- 2 – 3 leeks, trimmed and washed (you can sub with large brown onions cut in half) (note 2)
- 2 – 3 bulbs of garlic, halved (see photo)
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1/2 tbsp extra
- 1-1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock / broth (note 3)
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 -2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted (note 4)
- 2 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
- 1 1/2- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock/broth
- salt & pepper to taste
- a dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional) (note 5)
- juices from baking tray
- Remove the pork loin 1 1/2 – 2 hours before roasting to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to highest temperature (250 C / 480 F is as high as my oven goes).
- Remove string from pork loin and unroll. Using a very sharp knife, score the pork skin at 1 cm/1/2″ intervals, making sure you don’t penetrate through to the meat (see photo).
- Pat the skin dry with paper towels (note 6).
- Place the spice mixture in a small bowl. Mix. Rub half of the mixture and 1 tbsp olive oil over the pork skin. Get right into all those little cracks.
- Turn the pork over and rub the remainder of the mixture and 1/2 tbsp of olive into the flesh.
- Select a baking tray that neatly accommodates the pork; not too big nor too cramped. Place the leeks and garlic bulbs in the tray.
- Place the pork skin side up, on top of the leeks and garlic.
- Pour enough stock/broth to cover the base of the tray by roughly 1 cm / 1/2″, making sure that the pork does not come into contact with any liquid. You will keep adding stock, a little at a time, as it evaporates during the cooking process. Check every 15 – 20 minutes.
- Transfer to oven and bake on highest temperature for 30 minutes .
- After 30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 170 C / 340 F. Roast for a further 1 hour.
- Check for ‘readiness’: Remove tray from oven. Pierce the thickest part of the pork with a skewer. If juices ooze clear, remove tray from oven. If not, return to the oven. Check in 5-8 minute intervals (note 7 & 8).
- Transfer pork to a serving platter. Allow to rest for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- Slice pork and serve with gravy.
- Place strainer over a small saucepan. Pour juices, including leeks etc into the strainer.
- Use the back of a spoon to press all the liquid through the strainer. Discard leeks etc.
- Over medium heat, add flour to the saucepan and whisk.
- Add the chicken stock/broth and a dash of Worcestershire sauce if desired. Whisk. Simmer until it reaches desired consistency. Add more stock if you prefer a thinner gravy.
- Taste first before you add further salt. Add pepper to taste.
- For pork loin that’s bought rolled and tied up with string, unroll and discard the string. It’s far easier to achieve an even crackling when the surface is flat.
- Cut off the darker, harder leaves from the leeks (see photo). Slice them in half and wash, separating the leaves to remove any trapped dirt.
- I suggest low sodium stock / broth to avoid an overly salty gravy. You can always add more salt at the end but you can’t take it out!!
- Lightly crush the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle until aromatic.
- Worcestershire sauce adds a little more flavour and colour to your gravy. You could also add a sprig of thyme and a crushed bay leaf to the baking tray.
- If you can begin the day before and allow the pork skin to dry overnight in the refrigerator, that’s great. Rub in the olive oil just before placing the pork in the oven.
- A thermometer comes in handy if you want to be very precise. To achieve the juicy, tender meat you see in the sliced pork with gravy photo, I aim for a core temperature of 65 C / 150 F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the loin until you reach the centre. Do not push it all the way through.
- Adjusting cooking time for different pork loin sizes: I suggest the following; roast for 30 minutes per 500 g / 1 lb. Even so, my strongest tip is to still use your eyes.