Roast Pork Loin with Roasted Apples and Sage & Onion Stuffing
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
25g/1oz pine nuts
125g/4½oz white breadcrumbs (from a day-old loaf)
2 tsps chopped sage
2 tsps chopped flat-leaf parsley
1.8kg/4lb boneless pork loin, skin scored at 5mm/¼in intervals
1 tbsp olive oil
3 eating apples
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
The combination of pork, apples and sage is a trusted classic. For crispy crackling, it is important not to baste the rind during cooking. Once the joint is cooked, if the crackling still isn't crispy enough for you, snip it into strips with scissors and flash them under the grill. For the roasted apples, do make sure you choose a variety that is in season. Serves six to eight.
1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for three to four minutes, stirring occasionally until softened but not browned. Then, remove from the heat.
2Meanwhile, heat a separate small frying pan over a medium heat and dry-fry the pine nuts, tossing a little. Brown evenly.
3Stir the breadcrumbs into the onion mixture along with the sage and parsley. Tip in the toasted pine nuts and season with salt and pepper to taste, mixing to combine. Set aside to cool completely.
4Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Place the pork joint skin-side down on a board and run a sharp knife between the loin and the streaky part to separate them. Continue to cut under the loin part for about 2.5cm/1in, releasing it a little from the fat on the bottom.
5Press the cooled stuffing into a large sausage shape and insert it into the opened-up area of the pork joint, pressing it in to fit snugly. Close the opening and roll up the joint, tying it with string at 2.5cm/1in intervals to secure.
6Place the joint, skin-side up, on a rack set in a large roasting tin and pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Rub the olive oil into the skin with one tablespoon of sea salt. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes.
7Reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and roast the joint for another 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook for 1¼ hours or until the pork is tender and the crackling is crisp and golden. When the pork is cooked, transfer it to a warmed serving plate and allow the joint to rest, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the rack from the roasting tin.
8Quarter and core the apples, then cut into slices. Quickly toss them in the cooking juices and fat left in the roasting tin and return the tin to the oven. Roast the apples for 15--20 minutes until tender and lightly cara-melised, tossing once or twice.
Cut the string off the pork joint and carve into thick slices. Arrange on warmed plates with the roasted apples.