This is an easy to carve, beautifully tasting roast pork joint with cider gravy, suitable for entertaining at any time of the year. However, it goes great over the Christmas season or indeed Christmastide; a period which runs over the twelve days from nightfall on the 24th December to nightfall on the 6th January; that is, Christmas-Eve to Epiphany (or Twelfth Day) and it particularly goes well on 12th Night. When is 12th Night? The evening of the previous day to Epiphany is called Twelfth Night, and it is traditionally the last big party of the season, (ie. the evening of the 5th of January). People recently have started to confuse the evening of the 6th of January as twelfth night, but our ancestors started the new day on sunset, while we start the new day on sunrise, therefore:
“Twelfth night: The evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking”. Oxford English Dictionary
Twelfth Night Pork With Cider Gravy Recipe
- 2kg joint of pork loin (boned, skin on)
- 2 pig (pork) kidneys
- 250g of quality sausage meat (you can remove the skins of 3 bought sausages)
- 1 medium onion (chopped very fine)
- 1 tsp of chopped parsley
- 1 tsp of chopped thyme
- 2 tsp of chopped sage leaves
- 1 tsp of fine sea salt (some for the rub)
- 1 tsp of ground black pepper (some for the rub)
- a little oil and a little butter
To Put In The Roasting Tray
- 1 Large Onion (peeled and quartered)
- 1 Medium Carrot, (peeled and chopped into chunks)
- 2 Celery Sticks, (cut into chunks)
- a few sprigs of thyme
- a few sage leaves
- a few parsley leaves
- 2 bay leaves
For The Cider Gravy
- 300ml good quality cider
- 300ml Chicken Stock
- pan-roasting juices from the pork
- 1 tbsp flour
- salt and pepper to season
In a frying pan place a little butter and oil and fry the finely chopped onion on a medium-low heat for 7 minutes so that they soften and become translucent, not browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Ask your butcher for a good quality pork loin and ask him to de-bone any ribs. Unroll the joint, pat the skin side dry with some kitchen towel, and using a sharp knife score the skin in a diamond pattern, do not score too deep into the skin. Place on the kitchen table top opened out with the flesh side up, skin side down. Now remove any hard white tough fatty pieces from where the rib bones were. Leave it skin side down.
Remove any skin from the kidneys and snip out the core with a pair of scissors. Chop the kidney up fine.
In a mixing bowl place the sausage meat, the chopped kidneys, the fried onion, the chopped herbs and seasoning. Mix thoroughly, so that there are no clumps and the herbs and seasoning are fully incorporated into the sausage meat and chopped kidneys.
Take this mixture and cover evenly the meaty inside joint area of the pork loin, where you have trimmed it. When the loin is rolled back up this sausage meat stuffing will be in the centre. Roll the joint up and secure with 3 or 4 metal skewers or better still some butchers string. Rub all over the scored outside with a little oil and then rub in some sea salt.
Pre-heat the oven to 250C
Into a heavy-based roasting tray, which has been lightly oiled, put 2 tbsp of cider, the onion, carrot celery, bay and other herbs. Drizzle over a little more oil and season with a little sea salt and pepper. Place the joint of Pork on top of the vegetables, so it is off the bottom of the roasting tray (or on a wire rack).
Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until the skin starts to crispen.
Turn oven down to 150C
After this first 20 minutes carefully pull the roasting tray out of the oven, cover with foil or put a lid on the roasting tray. Place back in the oven, (now at the low temperature of 150C) and roast for another 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. Several times during the cooking time lift the foil or roasting tray lid and baste the joint with the pan juices.
When cooked, take out the roasting tray, remove the foil and replace in the oven after turning the oven back up to 250C. This will crispen the outside crackling. After ten minutes turn the oven off and the pork joint should be removed from the roasting tray and left to rest for 30 minutes.
For The Cider Gravy
From the roasting tray discard the bay leaves and transfer the vegetables and herbs in the roasting tin to a saucepan. Pour off all put 2 tbsp of the oil/fat, (to dispose) leaving the roasting juices behind, and put the roasting tray over a medium heat on the cooker hob. Stir in the flour and cook, gently stirring and scraping the burnt on caramelised and roasted bits into the flour, and roasting juices.
Pour in the rest of the cider, bring to a simmer and continue to gently stir and scrape the bottom of the roasting tray. Now tip all of this into the saucepan with the vegetables, bring to a boil, mash down the vegetables and reduce the cider by half as it bubbles away. Pour in the chicken stock, stir and reduce again by half until it is a light, gravy consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper, strain through a fine sieve, to remove all the lumps, into a jug or gravy boat. Press down on the vegetables to remove all the juice and gravy from them in the sieve.