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Friday 25 April 2014

Gin & Juniper Pork with Leek and Parmesan-Stuffed Squash

Serves four.

YOU WILL NEED

For the pork 2.5kg pork shoulder, boned and rolled, fat scored

2 tbsps juniper berries

1 large sprig rosemary, leaves only

6 sage leaves, finely chopped

60ml gin

4 tbsps olive oil

salt and pepper

For the stuffed squash 2 small butternut squash, halved and deseeded

Handful of thyme

Olive oil

25g butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced into rounds

4 handfuls grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper

English mustard and watercress to serve

Method

Grind the juniper berries, rosemary and sage with a generous handful of sea salt and black pepper using a pestle and mortar. Add the gin and olive oil to loosen.

Rub the marinade over the pork joint with your hands. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for as long as you can; overnight is ideal, but an hour or two will do.

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7. Unwrap the pork and place on a rimmed baking tray with any marinade that's escaped. Slide the pork on to the highest shelf, fat-side up, and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the fat is brown and bubbling.

Turn the oven down to 160°C/Gas Mark 3, cover the joint with two layers of foil and roast for three to four hours, until the meat falls away when prodded with a fork.

If you want guaranteed crispy crackling, remove the foil and turn the grill on for five to 10 minutes at the end.

For the stuffed squash, score the flesh of the squash halves about 1cm deep using a small sharp knife. Fill the empty seed cavities with thyme sprigs and drizzle all over with olive oil and a large pinch of salt.

Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven with the pork for the last hour.

Melt the butter, add the leeks and cook for about eight minutes, until tender but retaining some bite.

Take the squash from the oven, discard the thyme and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, leaving the skins intact on the tray. Stir the squash into the leeks, add some pepper, then tip the mixtures back into the squash skins. Top with Parmesan and grill for five minutes until browned.

Serve with some fiery English mustard and a handful of watercress.

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