18 Nov 2018
As a self-confessed foodie, autumn is my favourite time of year; game is back on the menu, crisp British apples are in abundance and salads make way for hearty roasts and warming stews. Weekends are spent foraging wild mushrooms, sloes and the last of the season’s blackberries – all perfect accompaniments for meaty meals.
The epitome of autumn on a plate has to be roast pork with crispy crackling and homemade apple sauce. Pork shoulder is favourable over leg or loin, as its layers of fat melt when cooked low and slow (between 2-3hours), resulting in moist, flavoursome and almost ‘spoonable’ meat.
Great crackling forms when the fat beneath the rind melts and pushes up through the skin, basting it with fat and making it crisp. The best way to achieve this is by scoring the skin in a criss-cross pattern using a Stanley knife, cutting into the skin, while being careful not to cut the meat. Etherington’s recommend patting the fat dry using kitchen paper, before rubbing a generous amount of oil, salt and thyme into the score lines.
With crackling joints, it is essential to cook them at a high heat (220-240°c) for the first 20 minutes, before reducing the oven temperature to 160°c (leave the oven door open for a couple of minutes to help it cool down) and continuing to cook for 40minutes per 500g plus an extra 35minutes, before leaving to rest.
Pork isn’t complete without a generous dollop of tangy apple sauce, which will taste all the sweeter made from your bounty of handpicked apples. Add peeled, diced apples to a saucepan with the juice of a lemon and a tablespoon of brown sugar or honey and heat gently until the apples are soft enough to squash, add a little butter and salt to serve.
Words by Vicki Mayrick of Etherington Meats