By SA Pork
- 2.5kg deboned pork loin with belly attached (see tips)
- 15ml olive oil
- a big knob of butter
- 1 medium-sized red onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 250ml panko crumbs
- 80g almond slivers, toasted and roughly chopped
- 250ml fresh herbs, finely chopped (use a mix of fresh sage, oregano, thyme and flatleaf parsley)
- 2 large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 30ml orange or naartjie juice
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Make the stuffing
Add the oil and butter to a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and fry for another minute until fragrant. Add the panko crumbs and fry until they’re lightly toasted. Add the zest and almonds and mix through. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.
Combine the panko mixture with the herbs and eggs and mix until well combined. Add the orange or naartjie juice.
2 Prepare the crackling
Lay the pork skin side up, and using a craft knife or a very sharp knife, score the skin with straight lines in 1cm intervals. Ensure that you cut all the way through the skin but not into the meat layer. Salt the crackling generously.
3 Butterfly the roast
Flip the pork over and butterfly with a sharp knife. Start by making a notch on one side and then opening up the meat in stages until it is completely open; ‘unroll’ the meat as you go along (almost like a new roll of paper towels). The idea is to maintain the same thickness all over so that the filling is evenly distributed once rolled.
4 Stuff the roast
Season the entire surface of the meat with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing onto the surface and work it into an even layer, leaving a 1cm border around the meat. TIP You can add extra greens such as parsley or baby spinach for a pop of colour and even more flavour.
Starting from the loin end, gently roll the roast up until the two ends meet. Position the roll with the seam side down, then tie the belly with the butcher’s string (about 6 pieces should do it).
TIP If time allows, put the stuffed roast in the fridge overnight; leave it uncovered to dry out the skin. This will ensure the crispest crackling!
Preheat the oven to 230ºC. If you have a convection oven, use the convection setting. Put the meat in a roasting dish and roast for 30 minutes at this high temperature to ‘kickstart’ the crackling. Reduce the heat to 170ºC and continue cooking for 1½ hours before checking the internal temperature. You’re aiming for 57–60ºC. The roast will continue cooking when you take it out of the oven, and the internal temperature will increase by at least another 5ºC, culminating in a perfect 65ºC.
When the roast has hit the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the perfectly roasted pork into generous 1.5cm slices and serve with crispy golden potatoes and gravy. Crispy fried sage leaves add extra texture.
Ask your butcher for a loin roast that still has the belly attached so you can roll it up evenly. Also, ask him to slice into the loin to open it up for stuffing and leave enough skin to ensure crispy crackling.
Ensure the meat is at room temperature before roasting to ensure even cooking.