Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Pork neck stuffed with orange, cloves and allspice

The Christmas food de rigueur is ham. A massive ham. A ham that's traditionally baked the night before Christmas Eve, keeping the Dad awake all night trying to not fall asleep and ruin everyone's holiday by overcooking the ham by just 3 degrees. Which is, in its traditionality, a charming way to get a man to do something in the kitchen. Even if just once a year. But, in case you have other ways to keep a man busy all night in, say, another om altogether, here's a treat that's every bit as porky, juicy, succulent... and only takes a couple of hours. 

Serves 3-4

1 kg pork neck
the finely grated zest of an orange
2 tsp ground allspice 
2 tsp ground cloves
salt, black pepper

For baking: 4-6 slices of Pancetta (depending on their size) or bacon
olive oil, black pepper

Take the meat into room temperature a good couple of hours before baking. Cut an incision from the top halfway through the meat and then continue towards the sides (like an upside down letter "T"), being carefully not to cut all the way through. Open the meat into a sheet and, if needed, using a mallet pound it so it's even thickness.

Grind the spices and grate the orange zest. Using a pestle and mortar rub together into a paste and spread on the meat. Season generously and roll tight. Wrap in Pancetta or bacon slices (if needed, you can stretch them both against a cutting board using the back of a knife) and truss using butcher's twine. 

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some black pepper on top. Bake at 200º for 30 minutes, lower the temperature to 130º, cover with foil and keep baking for 2,5-3 hours until done. If not busy doing something (or someone!) else, baste with the juices on a couple of occasions. 

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with warm beet and potato salad (recipe to follow tomorrow!). Or proper roasties (that, too, on its way!) and this, Cumberland-ish sauce.

Cumberland-ish sauce:

a couple of tbsp butter
1/2 red onion
1/4 - 1/2 red chilli (according to palate)
1 large garlic clove
1 cm piece of fresh ginger
2 strips of orange zest
3 tbsp brown sugar
the juice of 1 orange (1 dl)
200 gr black currants (frozen)
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 dl port wine
25-50 g butter
salt, black pepper

Peel the onion and cut into chunks. Peel the garlic clove and bruise with the back of a knife. Sauté chilli, onion and garlic in a pot. Then add sugar and continue cooking for a little while. Then add port wine, bring to boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add orange zest, juice, rosemary, ginger and black currants. Let gently bubble over medium heat for 20 minutes, mash through the sieve, return to a clean pot and add butter. Check the taste and season as needed. 




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