September 1, 2010

Stuffed Loin of Roast Pork with Crispy Crackling (and Prosciutto)

Roast pork is fantastic, especially for a festive lunch or dinner with friends and family. Cuts to use for roasting include the shoulder (spare rib roast, blade), loin, tenderloin, belly, leg, rump (upper portion of leg) and shank (lower portion of leg). Cheaper cuts marked "roasting" are often tough.

The recipe I followed to make this dish is from Gordon Ramsay's book, Kitchen Heaven. He uses the short loin from a suckling pig (a piglet aged between 2 and 6 weeks) with the skin on, but since I wanted to use the skinless pork loin from my fridge at home, I decided to improvise the "skin" by wrapping the stuffed pork in prosciutto and securing it all with kitchen string. This proved to be quite a challenging task for me, resulting in what looked more like a cube than a perfectly rolled and round roast.


However, after much anticipation while the loin was roasting in the oven and resting before carving, I was pleased to find the meat inside juicy and well flavoured from the lemon zest and fresh herbs, and the prosciutto nicely crisp.

Stuffed Loin of Roast Pork in Prosciutto - with fluffy couscous and pan-fried broccolini

The recipe I've provided is the original before these alterations, because I do not recommend encasing a whole loin in prosciutto - it is ten times less time consuming and even more stress-free to simply purchase a loin with the skin intact.

An option that works, though, is to place pork fillets (about 350g each) on a layer of prosciutto slices before carefully rolling it up.  Then cut 40x30cm sheets of foil, drizzle them with olive oil down the centre and sprinkle with thyme leaves and cracked pepper. Place the pork fillet on top, bring the edges of the foil up and fold together over the pork, tightly roll to enclose and twist the ends to seal. Rest in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking in a 200°C preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil (reserve any juices) and pan-fry the pork parcels in an olive oiled pan for 10 minutes to crisp and brown the prosciutto all over. Rest for 10 mintues in a warm place before slicing into thick slices, served with a jus made from the reserved pork juices, a splash of fortified wine and a ladleful of chicken stock.

Serves 4:
- 1kg rolled short loin
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 1 loosely packed cup sage, leaves picked
- 1 loosely packed cup parsley, leaves picked
- Olive oil

Preheat oven to 220°C. Lay the loin of pork, skin side down, on a work surface and lightly score the flesh with a knife. Rub the garlic firmly over the meat to really get the flavour in there, then season it well and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Scatter the herbs over the middle of the pork loin, then carefully roll it up tightly and secure it with some string, tied in a butcher's knot. If you don't know how to do one of those, just tie it tightly to make sure it won't come apart.

Oil the skin of the rolled pork and roast it in the preheated oven for 20-25minutes. When cooked, it should be slightly pink in the middle and crisp and golden on the outside. If the crackling is soft and you want to crisp it up, just heat some olive oil in a pan and roll the pork in it until it spits and blisters. Rest for 10 minutes in a warm place before carving to serve.

Gordon's version of what a perfectly roasted pork loin should look like - succulent, crispy and very tantalising!

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