Porc.Wales has been set up to promote the Welsh pork industry and to encourage Welsh consumers to eat more locally produced, quality pork products. The website showcases the finest pig farmers and producers from around the country and includes a directory of regional stockists to link consumers directly with pork producers and butchers – enabling them to source pork produce locally.
With a growing innovative pork industry, the Porc.Wales website includes interviews with farmers, butchers and chefs who explain why pork produced in Wales is so special. In addition, the website offers recipes and features which explore how to prepare different cuts of pork.
I was more than happy to get involved in the Porc.Wales campaign and the first recipe I chose to cook was roast pork with crackling, cider and shallot gravy and apple sauce. The full recipe is outlined below.
Roast pork and crackling with cider and shallot gravy, and apple sauce
For the pork and the gravy
- 1.8 kg/4lb shoulder of pork
- 4 shallots peeled
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 250 ml dry cider
- 250 ml vegetable stock or potato water
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the apple sauce
- 225 g/8oz Bramley cooking apples peeled, cored and diced
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp water
- 15 g/½oz butter
- 1 tsp caster sugar
For the pork and gravy
Preheat your oven to 240°C/475F/Gas Mark 9.
If the skin on the pork hasn't already been scored, use a sharp paring knife to score the skin into thin strips, ensuring the blade of the knife reaches around halfway through the thickness of the skin.
Place the pork in a roasting tin with the skin facing up and carefully slide the shallots underneath it.
Sprinkle around 1tbsp of sea salt crystals all over the skin, pushing it down between the strips (this helps to make the crackling as crunchy as possible!)
Place the pork onto the top shelf of the oven and roast for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. Then, turn the temperature down to 190°C/375F/gas 5 and calculate the combined cooking time at 35 minutes to the pound, before deducting the initial 30 minutes cooking time. At this point, I had to cook my pork for a further 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes until carving.
As the pork cools, carefully spoon all fat from the surface of the roasting juices and, leaving the shallots in, place the roasting tin over the hob on a low heat, sprinkle in the flour and quickly beat it into the juices using a wooden spoon.
Turning the heat up to medium, slowly add the cider and stock a little at a time and use a whisk to mix into the juices. By now, the gravy should be starting to thicken.
Season the gravy with salt and pepper, remove the shallots and pour into a serving jug. Carve the pork into slices and serve with plenty of crackling and roasted vegetables.
For the apple sauce
Place the apples, lemon zest and water into a saucepan and warm over a low heat.
When the apples start to go soft and mushy (after around 8-10 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and caster sugar.
Leave to cool before serving
Recipe NotesTo check if the pork is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat and check to ensure that the juices run clear, with no hint of pink.
If your gravy becomes lumpy when you add the flour, try using a whisk to beat it into the juices instead of a wooden spoon.
When making the apple sauce, use a vegetable peeler to zest the lemon if you haven't got a zester to hand; the lemon zest should come off in strips (but be careful - you don't want to include any white pith, as this has a bitter taste). Homemade apple sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months; an ice-cube tray is very handy for this!
The pork used in this recipe was provided complimentary by Bodnant Welsh Food’s in-house butchery. However, I was not obliged to write a positive review.
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