Monday, October 6, 2008

First time for everything

I’ve never cooked pork before, ever, and I hardly ever eat it. I do however consume, ham, bacon and other cured pig meat.

Pork wasn’t really a meat cooked in my household when I was growing up, and I also recall hearing when I was younger about Cysticercosis, a tapeworm that you can get from undercooked pork that lives in your brain. So I think that may be a big factor in the avoidance of pork.

So this was a little adventure, I had in my fridge a nice sized fillet end leg of pork and all fears of worm brain related deaths put aside, I started to work on this lovely piece of meat. I firstly took out the bone for easier carving later and then realized I knew nothing about cooking times, duh, so thanks to the New Zealand Pork Industry Board website that changed quickly (25-30 minutes per 500g and an internal temperature of 71˚C-76˚C, the temperature will rise about 5˚ when resting). I made a few incisions into the meat and stuffed in garlic and sage leaves, rubbed it down with salt and oil, giving the skin side a thorough massage of salt.

Wanting to add a little fruity note and make the gravy tastier when I deglazed the roasting pan, I put some thick slices of apple and lemons and sage under the rack that the pork was going to roast on. With the oven up to 180˚C and my other tray with vegetables at the ready, I put it all in the oven, a hour and a touch more minutes later out came a glorious smelling roast pork with perfect crackling. I placed the tray on a hot element and deglazed with some chicken stock and reduced and sieved the gravy, a bitter sweet liquid with a hint of smoke and a deep brown colour.

So, all plated up, with a nice selection of roasted vegetables, thick slices of roast pork, sauerkraut, hot mustard and a decent pour of gravy. And I tell you, there’s no looking back for me now, maybe a fluke but it was perfectly juicy, crisp skinned, flavorsome and just begging to be scoffed down, so beware little pigs I’m coming for you!