Roasting And Braising

 

Using the prepared cuts of pork for roasts and braises can yield splendid results if you follow these simple instructions and timing guidelines. Rubs, stuffings and glazes will boost the flavour of the meat.

ROASTING A JOINT OF PORK

Leg, loin and shoulder of pork are all suitable cuts for roasting, either with the bone in or boned, rolled and tied, with or without stuffing. The technique is the same, but cooking times vary. If you like crackling, buy the joint with its skin intact, score it and pat it dry, then rub with oil and salt. Do not baste it during roasting or it will not be crisp. Make deep incisions through the skin and insert slivers of peeled garlic, if you like.

1. If the skin has been removed, as shown here on a leg of pork, score in a diamond pattern with a boning knife. Brush with a little oil and rub with salt and pepper or a dry spice mix such as cinnamon, mustard powder and brown sugar.

2. Place the joint on a rack in a roasting tin and roast until well-done. If there is no crackling, baste the joint with the fat from the tin every 30 minutes.

ROASTING TIMES

Pork is usually roasted until well­-done, to an internal temperature of 80°C. All times are approximate.

ROAST at 230°C for 10 minutes. Reduce to 180°C and follow times below.

JOINTS ON THE BONE 30 minutes per 450 g plus an extra 30 minutes

BONED, ROLLED JOINTS 35 minutes per 450 g plus an extra 35 minutes (For stuffed joints allow an extra 5-10 minutes per 450 g)

ROASTING PORK TENDERLOIN

Tying the tenderloin around a contrasting stuffing makes an attractive presentation when sliced. Roast the tenderloin in a roasting tin at 220°C for 30-35 minutes, turning it halfway. For a special French touch, make a jus to accompany the meat by deglazing the cooking juices with wine or port.

1. Tie the rolled tenderloin along its length. Brush with oil, season and roast, basting with the juices.

2. Let rest, loosely covered with foil, for about 5 minutes. Remove string and slice on the diagonal.

ROASTING SPARERIBS

Don't confuse these ribs with meaty sparerib chops from the belly of the animal - these are best braised at 180°C for 45 minutes per 450 g. The ribs here are the Chinese finger-food ribs which need to be roasted so the meat is crisp enough to bite off the bones. If they are sold in a sheet, separate them with a cleaver or chef's knife.

1. Put the ribs in a single layer in a roasting tin, brush with your chosen glaze. Let marinate for at least 1 hour.

2. Roast at 220°C for 20 minutes, then reduce to 200°C and roast for 40-45 minutes. Turn often to cook evenly; remove with tongs.

GLAZES FOR RIBS

Glazes flavour the ribs and help to produce a sticky coating during roasting.

• Mix clear honey, pineapple juice, oil and a little wine vinegar. For extra bite, add a spoonful of chilli sauce.

• Mix soy sauce, oil, rice wine and five-spice powder.

• Mix grain mustard and honey and thin with a little oil.

ROASTING PORK CHOPS

The best cooking method for thick pork loin chops is roasting. The technique shown here works well with plain or pocket-stuffed chops. The apple rings add flavour and moistness to the pork and pulp down into the juices, but they are not essential.

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, add the chops and sear over a moderate heat.

2. Roast in a baking dish with the pan juices at 180°C for 30-40 minutes.

BRAISING PORK IN MILK

This unusual method of cooking pork is traditional in Italy. During long gentle cooking, the milk and the fat in the pork intermingle, making the most delicious sauce and moist succulent meat. Don't be put off by the slightly curdled appearance of the sauce - this is as it should be.

1. Sear the rolled loin in hot olive oil. Keep the heat moderate to high and turn the joint constantly to make sure the fat browns evenly on all sides. Use the fork to steady the meat, not pierce it.

2. Add the seasonings and milk, bring to the boil, cover and braise. Stir the cooking liquid and spoon it over the joint during cooking. This will amalgamate the fats and the flavours.