I am just a little tired of healthy meals involving salad or steamed vegetables and steamed fish. Even on Christmas day I had healthy food. New Year’s Day I mean to start as I don’t intend to go on. at least not ALL the time. A man has to be a little self-indulgent sometime. Right? Besides, the pork was really cheap. I bought the smallest piece Woollies had; 977 g. Reduced from $11.70 to $5.80. Who could pass up a piece of lean, tender pork at that price? Nothing wrong with it, it was short dated. So am I by now…
I should get half a dozen meals from this if I am not greedy. No crackling but. I do love crackling. However, I am on a diet! My compromise. That is why (other than the price) I bought a scotch roast with minimal fat. Starting the year with just a little self-indulgence, but not too much.
SLOW PORK SCOTCH ROAST
- 1 pork scotch roast
- 1/4 tsp salt and a good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper (not too much salt or the sauce will be ruined)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, thickly sliced
- 1 apple, thickly sliced
- lots of garlic (the usual amount!)
- 4 bay leaves
- a sprig of rosemary
- zest of a lemon (or in my case a drop of the lovely lemon oil that is lasting me so long)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- dash of Angostura Bitters
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/4 cup “Old Tawny”fortified wine (We used to call it Port until the Portuguese invoked appellation control).
- 1 Tbsp of gravy mix dissolved in a quarter cup of Stone’s green ginger wine (I used Gravox “Roast Meat” gravy powder).
- Preheat oven to 200 Celsius
- Peel and slice the apple into a bowl, sprinkling it with the lemon juice so it does not brown.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper, then rub with olive oil.
- Sear pork on all sides in a hot non-stick pan. Let Mr Maillard‘s chemistry do its thing. Put aside. Leave juices in the pan.
- Add a little more oil if necessary and sauté the onion until it begins to caramelise. Mr Maillard again!
- Add apple, garlic and herbs and sauté for 2 minutes, until aromatic.
- Place the mixture in a casserole or Dutch oven and put the pork on top
- Deglaze the pan with the cider and add it to the casserole along with the port, bitters and zest.
- Cook for thirty minutes without the lid, turning the meat two or three times. (you will have to wing it a bit here as I drank the remains of the cide while preparing the veges, and did not keep good time. You can tell if the meat is still raw inside because it is soft and giving when turned with the tongs).
- Add the gravy mix solution. Stir it into the sauce.
- Cover with the lid. Turn the heat down to 160 Celsius
- Cook for a further 25 minutes with the lid on and then turn off the heat, leaving the dish in the oven a further 5 minutes or so. Prick the meat and juices should run pink.* If no juices run, it is rooolly done. The sauce should be a pourable rich red/brown. You can strain it if you don’t want the added bits and pieces.
I was very pleased with this. The meat was succulent and moist. I served it with mashed potato and artichoke hearts, steamed whole baby beans and honey glazed carrot matchsticks with a hint of mace.
I was originally going to do this in the slow cooker, but decided on the oven because Mr Maillard needs hot air. Turning the meat helps to further glaze and caramelise the bit exposed to the oven heat above the liquid.
- Rule of thumb for cooking Pork Scotch fillet without rind is 40 minutes per Kg at 180 C. Pork with rind takes a little longer. So does this sort of cooking in liquid.
- * Pork can be cooked medium with a hint of pink in the centre. Contrary to popular belief, pork does not have to be overcooked, which actually makes it tough and dry. We do not have trichinosis and similar problems with pork these days. Not here in the antipodes anyway. Trust me on this, I am (or once was) a leading food safety expert.