Roast loin of pork with apple and spinach stuffing
The main ingredients in this recipe have been in common use in Irish kitchens for centuries. Free-range Irish pork has been slow to filter through to mainstream retail sales, but you should find it at farm shops and farmers' markets. Serves six to eight.
YOU WILL NEED
2kg/4½lb loin Irish pork, preferably free
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
l onion, peeled and sliced
60ml/4 tbsps water
Juice of l orange
For the stuffing
50g/2oz dried apricots, chopped
50g/2oz spinach, blanched and chopped
(or use 2-3 tbsps chopped parsley)
50g/2oz hard Irish farmhouse cheese,
1 cooking apple, eg, Bramley’s Seedling,
peeled and grated, or finely chopped
Grated rind of half the orange
For the topping
15ml/l tbsp mild wholegrain Irish mustard,
eg, Lakeshore or Dalkey
30ml/2 tbsps Demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Prepare the stuffing first by putting all the ingredients into a bowl and mixing together well. If the pork loin has the skin on, remove it to cook separately for crackling. Place the meat, fat-side down, on a chopping board and spread the stuffing over it.
Roll up and tie neatly with cotton string, then season. Put the joint in a roasting tin with the peeled and sliced onion and the water. Cook uncovered for about 35 minutes per 450g/1 lb. If making crackling, score the pork skin, rub in a little salt and roast in a separate tin until brown and crunchy. (The drippings are perfect for cooking roast potatoes.) Around 40 minutes before the end of the cooking time, pour off the liquid into a small saucepan and discard the onion. Add the orange juice to the liquid.
Spread mustard over the loin and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Return to the oven and turn the heat up to get a crisp finish. Boil up the juices, thicken if you like, and serve with the sliced meat, lots of crispy roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.