Autumn on a plate and unashamedly traditional. Crisp up the fat towards the end of the cooking time to create mouthwatering crackling!
- Weigh the joint and calculate the cooking time.
- Before it returns to room temperature, score the fat on the pork using a sharp paring or Stanley knife. Don’t add any oil.
- Squeeze the fennel seeds and dried herbs into the scored lines. Sit fat-side up in a roasting tin. Tuck the fresh herbs and the garlic cloves underneath.
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Rub the skin all over with sea salt at the last minute and bang in the oven.
- Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas 4. Cook for a further 1 hour 40 minutes.
- Add the halved apples, cut-side down. Start to check the meat for doneness with a skewer or meat thermometer – it should be white with clear juices (it may need a further 20 minutes). Remove when done. Leave to rest in a warm place for 10–15 minutes.
- In the meantime, remove the apples, garlic and herbs from the tin and arrange on a plate. Put the tin on the hob. Add the cider, stock/water and star anise. Stir well, scraping up all the caramelised bits.
- Bring to the boil and simmer, whisking, until reduced by a third. Remove the star anise and season to taste. Add lemon if it needs a little acidity.
- Using a sharpened carving knife, cut the crackling neatly away from the meat and remove it in once piece. Cut the meat away from the bone and carve into slices.
- Arrange on a plate with the roasted apples and serve with the gravy, onion sauce, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes or mustard mash.
From Sam Stern’s Cookery Course for Students in the Kitchen (Quadrille)
Photograph by Chris Terry