Sunday rolled around and in the mood for a roast. Had a lovely piece of pork from Freedom Farms who are all about naturally farmed foods and bringing back quality, a Kiwi challenge to what's been going on in farming around the world with demands for cheaper food and more intensive farming. More and more people care about the quality of their food and about where their food comes from. People want to know that their farm animals are being raised more naturally and humanely and what they are being fed, and they want to support farmers that operate sustainably. So if you want some delicious pork that you can also feel good about, look out for Freedom Farms pork.
And no roast is a real roast without roast potatoes. Lucky me had picked up a little pot of duck fat at Taste Auckland from Saveur Duck. On the side pumpkin courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi and some steamed broccoli fresh in from Epicurean Supplies.
For the roast pork I simply salted it, as aiming for crispy crackling, and went with Delia's timing. Score the skin and sprinkle generously with salt. Do not put any fat, butter, oil or anything near the crackling! Cook for 20 minutes at 245C and then lower the heat to 190C and cook for 35 minutes per pound for leg or loin of pork. Perfect timing, the pork was just cooked and tender and juicy. Crackling not quite as crackling as I would have liked but easily remedied. Just take of the crackling and place it under the grill for a few minutes to really crisp it up.
For the roast potatoes I used Agria, you want floury potato for these rather than a waxy one, so if in the UK King Edward or in the USA Russet. Peel and then cut in to similar sized chunks. I like somewhat triangular shapes as always aiming for as much surface as possible to deliver the maximum amount of crispy deliciousness.
Par boil in salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve and give them a good shake to rough them up a bit, again to maximize the crispiness. Return to the pot and toss with a tablespoon or 2 of either semolina or polenta. Trust me, this trick comes from Nigella and she knows her roast potatoes. It gives just that little extra costing which I promise you guarantees golden crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside i.e. the perfect roast potato. Heat the oil in a baking tray in the oven (same temp as the pork), if no duck fat I would recommend Rice Bran oil as it has a really high smoking point and you can get it good and hot. But I would highly recommend the duck fat...seriously worth every calorie. Toss the potatoes in the hot oil, season with salt, and cook for 30 - 45 minutes or until golden and crispy.
On the side crusted pumpkin wedge.
Crusted Pumpkin Wedges from the wonderful Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
700g pumpkin, skin on
50g Parmesan, grated, and yes use the good stuff it is just better!
20g dried white bread crumbs, I actually used some fresh brown breadcrumbs
6 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
Grated zest of 2 large lemons
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60 ml olive oil
120g sour cream
1 tbsp dill, chopped (Sadly couldn't find dill but work well just with the sour cream)
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C. Cut the pumpkin in to 1cm thick slices and lay them flat, cut side down, on a baking sheet that has been lined with greaseproof paper.
To make the crust, mix together in a small bowl the Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, thyme, half the lemon zest, the garlic, a tiny bit of salt (as the Parmesan is salty) and pepper.
Brush the pumpkin generously with olive oil and sprinkle with the crust mix, making sure the slices are covered with a few millimetres of coating. Gently pat the mixture down a little.
Place the tray in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. If the topping starts to darken too much just cover it loosely with a little foil.
Mix the sour cream with the dill and some salt and pepper. Serve the wedges warm sprinkled with the remaining lemon zest, with the sour cream on the side.
This was one delicious roast dinner. The pork was tender and so flavourful, well worth paying that little bit extra. Topped off the port with a little plum and ginger sauce. A great one to make ahead that can then be frozen. The roast potatoes....heavenly. There certainly weren't going to be any of them left over. Crispy, golden little gems golden and roasted on the outside and warm fluffy potato on the inside. Serious potato heaven. And what a great way with pumpkin, crisp golden herby tasting crust, soft tender pumpkin all fragrant and delicious with that last hit of lemon zest. They also look fabulous which is always a plus and I think far superior to the usual roasted pumpkin, so give it a go the next time you are having a roast or they would be lovely with some simply grilled fish and a little salad.
All finished off with a little Raspado de Sandia y Frambuesa (Watermelon-Raspberry Ice). Great to have on hand in the freezer and a breeze to whip it up.Enjoy!