Thursday, 31 March 2016

Crackling unlike anything I have made before - fantastic!

I remember as a child waiting for the crackling on a pork roast. My father would fight with the stove to get just the right crackle and as great a cook as he was it was always a little charred. We ate it enthusiastically anyway. It has been my quest to get the ideal crackle. When I say quest I don't mean I have sacrificed the rest of my life to gain the ultimate crackle but every time I do a pork roast it becomes the only thing I focus on.

I have tried salting, drying and cooking high and cooking low. I have consulted google and read comments by Jamie, Heston and whoever else will offer an opinion. 

This is how I did it.
1. I bought the roast a day a go and resisted the urge to freeze it. I left it in the fridge in the vacuum pack.
2. Morning of roast dinner. Removed meat from plastic, cut extra lines in skin (butchers never seem to do enough) rubbed salt into skin and then I put a salt crust on the skin about 1/2 cm thick.
3. I placed the roast on a tray in the fridge uncovered so it would dry out for about 2-3 hours.
4. About 3 hours before serving time I turned on the oven to 250C to heat up and brushed the salt off the roast into the sink. Using a wet paper towel I removed the remaining salt and then patted the skin till it was dry to touch.
5. My roast was a 2.1kg rolled pork roast so cooking times may vary for other cuts. By this stage the oven had reached 250C. I turned it down to 140 C, put the roast in the centre of the oven and forgot about it for 2 hours.
6. At the 2 hour mark I put the potatoes and pumpkin in (cut in size to about 1/2 an apple). A little over an hour later (approximately 3 hrs since it went into the oven) I removed the roast and the veg from the oven. I turned the oven up to 200C and put only the roast back in and cooked it a further 10-15 minutes.
7. I removed the roast and put the veg back in for 10-15 minutes at 200C while the meat rested and I made gravy and cooked some peas.

This is what it looks like at the end. Evenly cooked and every bit was crunchy. It was like finely made honeycomb - a very smooth finish with tiny bubbles of crunch. 
The beautiful crackle (c) The Daisy Hedge 2016
My son told me it was the most fantastic crackling he had ever eaten (he is 6) and my daughter who is 3, after saying she hated crackling became a convert and couldn't get enough on her plate.
Close up of the beautiful crackle (c) The Daisy Hedge 2016
As a mentioned we had potatoes, pumpkin, peas and gravy to accompany our pork and crackling but I also indulged in a some red wine. Because of my arthritis medication I can only indulge occasionally. This was moment of celebration, I had to toast to the crackling! I collect wines in our travels and this one I bought in Port Macquarie Easter 2015. It was lovely. I now wish I had bought more!

Sangiovese Shiraz 2013 from Cassegrain Winery, Port Macquarie (c) The Daisy Hedge 2016

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