A few weeks ago, I attended a Yultide dinner at Restaurant Atelier, hosted by Australian Pork.
Not one to shun a goodie bag, I was delighted to find not cosmetics, hairdressing vouchers to hip salons or even holidays...but I did find a rack of moisture infused pork.
Having thrown down the gauntlet to the other guests at the dinner, here's my dish:
Pot roasted rack of pork with ruby grapefruit and parmesano reggiano salad and pancetta roasted portobello mushroom
The recipe is loosely based on Darren Templeman's pot roasted pork with winter spice cure.
1 pork rack containing four cutlets
1 carrot (diced)
1 stick of celery (diced)
2 echallots (diced)
1 mild chilli, halved
1 bulb of garlic, top chopped off
500 mls of meat stock (I used chicken, but veal or beef will work well)
1/2 cup red wine
3 strips of pancetta
2 portobello mushrooms
1/2 ruby grapefruit
Parmegiano reggiano shavings
plenty of salt and pepper to season
Step 1 (cut a hole in the box)..not quite but I did have a lot of fun using my filleting knife to remove the skin from the rack in order to create what would hopefully be successful crackling later on.
Tie each cutlet with string. This will help keep the moisture in the pork and looks like you know what you're doing.
Season the pork with salt and pepper and in a hot frypan, brown the outside of the rack.
Pop it in a pot with the head of galic, lid on and into a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees for one hour.
Lay mushrooms on a tray, top with olive oil chopped pancetta and freshly ground pepper (no salt as the pancetta will season the mushroom for you).
Place the tray at the bottom of the oven to do it's thing.
Heat the stock in a pot to simmering temperature.
In the frypan you browned the pork in, heat the pan to medium, add a splash of olive oil and the diced veggies and chilli. Sautee until the veggies become coated and translucent.
Add a splash of Merlot verjus to deglaze the pan and pour the contents into the stock, along with the wine. Boil this mixture down for an hour until reduced and thickened.
Once the jus is on the boil, turn your attention to the pork skin.
Score the skin with a sharp knife and generously rub with olive oil and plenty of salt on both sides. Kick off the browning process by frying the skin side in a hot pan for 5 minutes before placing it on a wire rack near the top of the oven. (be careful..fat splatter burns aren't attractive)
After an hour, remove the pork (and the mushrooms) from the oven and let it rest. Dress the mushrooms with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
Pour the juices from the pot into the jus and continue to simmer. Season the jus to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
At this point, crank the heat up to 230 in the oven to crisp up the crackling for another 20 minutes.
Peel the grapefruit flesh from the skin and slice finely.
Toss this into a bowl of salad greens, shaved reggiano, along with a good splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Done.
Serve each cutlet with the salad and half a mushroom, the roasted garlic and the reduced jus.
And the crackling? Slice it up and let them fight for it!