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Roast Yorkshire Pork

Roast Yorkshire Pork
I do love the swine. I love it any/which way it comes. Bacon, pork belly, chorizo, black pudding, loin, pork chops, ribs, sausages. Tender and crispy, moist and wonderful, oozing fat and dripping with flavour.

Ah, the swine.

Sourcing it well is most important. Every piece of meat we eat is the product of a number of factors: husbandry, the abbatoir and the butchery; each stage is equally important. The meat available to us in most shops and supermarkets is compromised on at least one of these fronts, in the name of price and value, speeding up the process to rush it to our shelves, or using intensive farming methods, common in pigs as chickens and equally cruel, but less well publicised.

Now, I don’t want to demonise the commercial pig farmer, but in our world, there’s a tendency to put profit over welfare, of the pig and the end consumer. I know it’s a very difficult time to be a farmer, they in the main are trying to compete and provide what the supermarket demands. I grew up surrounded by farms, and I know how difficult the life can be and how much they care about what they do. I really want to support them and not pointlessly criticise. It’s time for the supermarkets to hold their hands up and make some changes, and bring the product back to what it was before we had any of these issues. It’s better for the pig, better for the farmer, and better for the consumer.

Added to these concerns, rare breeds are dying out in favour of the easily bred commercial pig and the efforts of smaller farmers and farmer’s markets in preserving these and their uniquely flavoured meats is to be applauded and supported.

So, how do we tackle this now? Personally, I prefer to eat meat less often, and when I do, eat a better product. I go to a local reliable butcher, or the farmer’s market. At the very least, when buying in the supermarket, I buy the best I can. Recently, I discovered an online farmer’s market, Paganum, based in North Yorkshire and thought I’d give them a go. It sounded worth trying, their ethic matches mine, and it’s super convenient to boot.  So, I ordered some pork and it was couriered to me the next day. I got bacon, a roasting joint, and (it goes without saying) some pork belly.

The bacon was back bacon and was cut quite thick, as is the Yorkshire way. I like my bacon crispy and I wondered how this would work with a thicker cut. I fried some with some eggs for brunch to see. It was absolutely delicious and the fat was melt in the mouth. I absolutely overate as a result. No surprise there!

Next up was the roasting joint. I cut it into sections as I wanted to freeze some for next weekend. It cut so easily, the meat was incredibly delicate. I seasoned it first with sea salt all over, especially on the skin and roasted it with some garlic, apples, onions, bay leaves, black peppercorns and sauvignon blanc. Roasting on a low heat to begin with and basting occasionally to keep it moist, using the accepted wisdom of cooking slowly at 190 degrees until the meat is cooked (roughly 25 minutes for every pound or so), then transferring the meat to a new tray and cranking up the heat to 230 degrees to crisp the crackling.

It took about two and a half hours in total for the amount that I was roasting. I have had my fill of heavy roast dinners after Christmas, so I wanted to eat it simply. I added some washed and chopped kale to the juices and accountrements in the original baking tray, covered it with aluminium foil and steamed it for about 5 minutes in the oven, until the kale was a vibrant bright green, still crispy and flavoured with the wine and juices from the meat. It was delicious! The meat itself was so moist and tender, and the crackling so crisp. There’s never enough crackling for me, which is probably just as well, I should leave some room in my arteries for some blood to get through occasionally.

It was lovely but not perfect, the recipe that is. While the wine was lovely, I might add some water or a light stock with the wine next time 50/50, as the flavour could dominate. I might add some carrots too, I think the sweetness would be a lovely addition to the juices.

It was the lunch that kept on giving. I had it for dinner on garlic ciabbata toasts, that I roasted in 5 minutes and with some more kale. I’ve got some more left, another meals worth and have saved the apples, onions and juices. I plan to experiment with an apple, sauvignon blanc and thyme sauce. I’ll let you know if it’s a success!

What about the pork belly? I haven’t decided what to do with that yet. I am tempted to raid my Fuschia Dunlop cookbook and do something Sichuanese with it. Or maybe have it cold in a salad a la Simon Hopkinson. I’ll decide soon, and come back and tell you about it here.

Tomorrow, I am quite excited to be going back to St John, they’ve just been awarded a well deserved first Michelin star, so I should have something to say about that soon too.

Hope you’re having a lovely January!

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

22 Comments

  1. Looks and sounds delicious. So when I was in the office with the smell of glue and spiced rum around me you were busy filling the air with winey whiffs. I really want some pork right now! Good looking greens too.

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  2. Bring on the SWINE! The swine cooked in wine :) It looks amazing, totally droolsome with that fantastic fat on the top. The quality of the meat is fantastic and I agree with all you say about eating better quality, less often but then you know that anyway! Loving the kale roasted in the juices too.

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  3. I think pork has to be one of the most underrated meats around, it’s definitely my favourite meat and it’s so versatile.

    This looks lovely, the kale idea is brilliant too.

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  4. Pork is my favourite meat, and I agree with you – because we’ve gotten into the mentality that meat is an everyday common item rather than a luxury or a treat, we’ve ended up with these (rather horrifying) commercial farming methods.

    I’ve never tried an online delivery, but it’s good to have one recommended.

    I haven’t cooked pork belly in a while; let’s have a belly-off!

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  5. It’s probably a basic question, but do you baste the fat on the pork joint, or is the idea to keep it dry so it crackles (i.e. you baste all over the sides etc.)? Looks and sounds lip-smacking – will be trying it soon!

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  6. Browners – lol, yes. Thanks. It was very nice, and mainly down to the fine quality of the meat

    Helen – bring on the swine! :-) The fat was delicious and I would recommend the kale. Yum.

    Ginger – I love pork, it’s fantastic. Thanks!

    Lizzie – that’s the problem, isn’t it? We never had meat everyday growing up. I would highly recommend Paganum, I am looking forward to trying their beef & lamb.

    Kath – not atall. I basted while it was roasting at the lower heat and kept it moist, then when I raised the temperature, I stopped basting so that it could crisp.

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  7. Looks lovely. I’ve got to agree with you regarding sourcing of meat, and have just got a big box of Paganum meat delivered today.

    It’s great how pork is so versatile, and is definately great to roast up sizeable pieces as you always gets meals and meals from them.

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  9. I got the ‘monthly shop box’, in other words sausages, bacon, burgers, lamb chops, mincemeat and some stewing beef. I also got a couple of rib-eyes as well.

    A post will be going up about the delivery, and the first meal made.

    I’ve just finished splitting some bits down to fit in the fridge & freezer. . .i’ve got 24+ sausages to work through in the next month and a bit!

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  10. Oh, that looks so good. I’m with you 100% on piggy love – I can’t think of a pork product that I don’t like. I really have to make an effort to find a meat supplier that I know and trust. And maybe when I move into my new house (fingers, toes & everything else crossed!) I might have space to freeze bulk orders as there is an extra freezer!

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  11. Oh, couldn’t agree with you more! Hooray for the pig, in all forms. Yum! Your roast pork looks absolutely glorious.

    +Jessie
    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

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  12. I bought some Yorkshire pork yesterday. I walked up the road to Norman’s farm, stopped for a chat for half an hour about the financial crisis and its effect on the food markets, negotiated a price for some pork and brought it home with me. Next Sunday I’ll be able to buy some more locally farmed meat at Skipton Farmers’ Market. You get the art galleries, the museums, the nightclubs and restaurants, Niamh… but at least I get great food.

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  13. Wowie, after seeing Lizzie’s pork belly and now your equally sumptious roast pork, I’m def craving it now :P

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  14. Just got round to reading this. Looks gorgeous and tender and meaty. Eek, or should I say oink. This should be called Year of the Pig rather than Year of the Ox!

    Gong Hei Fat Choi!

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