Great Roast Pork Christmas Meal Recipe
[Updated 1 June 2020]Fed up with turkey already? Me to.
A pork joint coated in crunchy crackling makes a great alternative to turkey for Christmas, but when served with a tangy warm apple jelly sauce, the meal becomes a feast.
For Diabetics like my husband, the crackling is a treat but he has to go very easy on the sauce.
Obviously, you seasoned cooks out there have your own ways and methods of roasting, so do what you usually do – but try this sauce, it’s so simple to do, you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it.
Awesome with hot or cold pork and adds a real luxury touch to the meal.
- A 5lb joint of pork – preferably loin
- 1 medium onion peeled and cut in half
- 1 tbsp plain flour for the gravy
- 10fl oz of good vegetable stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 240C or 475F
- While the oven is preheating, score the skin of the pork. Though you’ll usually find it scored already, it’s always best to add more lines if you want it really crispy. You’ll need to use the point of a very sharp knife, or a strong craft knife, actually you can buy a special pork scalpel if that feels safer.
- Now score the skin all over into thin strips, taking your blade about halfway through the fat beneath the skin, you don’t want to cut into the meat.
- Place the pork in a roasting pan with the skin facing up and the two onion halves wedged under the meat – this trick adds flavor and helps stop the meat burning on the pan and will give the gravy a good color.
- Using a roughly1 tablespoon of crushed salt crystals, sprinkle them evenly over the skin pressing the crystals in firmly – they help crackle the skin.
Line the base of the oven with foil or a non-stick silicone oven liner if you have one. Place the joint onto a high shelf in the oven and roast hot for 25 – 30 minutes. Take the heat down to 190C/375F, and work out the cooking time allowing 35 minutes to the pound. In this case, it would be a further 2½ hours but check the meat is done or use a cooking probe thermometer.
There’s no need to baste pork – plenty enough fat already to keep the meat succulent and moist. The way to tell if the meat is cooked is to insert a skewer in the thickest part and the juices that run out should be absolutely clear without any trace of pinkness – or as I said, use a cooking thermometer.
When the pork is cooked take it out and rest for at least half an hour before carving, pork needs longer than beef, lamb or poultry and when people complain pork is tough, often it lacked resting time.
One alternative to this is to cook and chill the meat the day before, then use a meat slicer to carve it before reheating in a little gravy or water prior to serving. If you’re roasting vegetables then it can reheat in the oven covered in foil to stop it drying out.
While the meat rests, make gravy for the potatoes and for those who don’t want or can’t have the sauce – you have the stock so might as well make the gravy! Tilt the tin and spoon all the fat off leaving only the juices or better still put through a fat separator – brilliant fat busters!
The onion will probably be pretty black and caramelized, which gives the gravy a richer color than you normally get with pork – another reason to include it – leave the onion in and put the roasting pan over direct heat – obviously you need a metal pan for this. Have the heat low and distribute the flour evenly then work well into the juices with a wooden or heatproof silicone spoon.
Now turn the heat up to medium and gradually add in the stock – depending on the amount and quality of the meat juices you may need to add a little more stock here.
Using a whisk, work the gravy until it comes to simmering point and taste – season as required. Any solid bits of onion can be removed or if you like smooth bit-free gravy, put through a sieve – warm it first. Now set aside and make the sauce
The sauce is best made just when you want it and served, rather than be left sitting around. It only takes about 5 minutes, so you can whip it up after the gravy is done while the meat is still resting.
The best sauce comes from either homemade or top quality apple jelly preserve – usually, there is less sugar and more fruit juice in both. The sauce goes superbly well with sausages too.
This post has a great recipe for apple jelly and you can start it as late as the day before – but better to do it now and get ahead, it takes very little time for mouthwatering results.
Tangy Apple Jelly Sauce
- 3 tablespoons of apple jelly
- Pinch of salt
- A good pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar – add to taste
This sauce shouldn’t be boiled up, just well warmed through – if you’ve got a cook top heat diffuser then use it for this and it won’t boil and burn. Put the white wine vinegar and apple jelly into a saucepan then onto a low heat and warm until the jelly has dissolved – now add the salt and pepper and turn off the heat.
Leave on the warm hob for another one minute then remove and pour into a warmed serving jug and take to the table.
Let me know how you go, or what you’re planning as an alternative to turkey for Christmas this year.