S L O W R O A S T E D P O R K L E G
W I T H
G A R L I C A N D F E N N E L S E E D S
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 6-7 hours
Season: All ingredients available year-round
3 kg leg of pork, bone in, skin scored by the
5 garlic cloves
1 rounded tblsp fennel seeds
1 level tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
5 tsp sea salt
475 ml white wine
When you get home after purchasing your pork leg, remove all packaging and place the pork on a rimmed plate and refrigerate, uncovered to allow the skin to dry. When ready to roast, remove the meat from the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to allow the meat to come to a cool room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas 7.
Peel the garlic cloves and place them in a mortar along with the fennel seeds, red chilli flakes and 1 tsp sea salt and black pepper. Work into a paste as best you can. Using your fingers, cup the garlic fennel paste and rub over the fleshy sides of the leg, really working the paste into the meat.
Transfer the pork leg to a roasting pan. Try to fit the leg into a pan which will leave a 5cm border around the meat — this will reduce the chance of a quick evaporation of the wine and lessen the chance of burning around the base of the meat and pan. Brush the top of the meat with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining sea salt over the skin only. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
After an hour, remove the pork from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas 2. Make sure the roasting pan is secure either on the hob or on a suitable sized trivet. Spoon off any fat which may have accumulated in the pan. Using a metal spatula flip the pork so that the skin side is down. It is best to always flip meat away from you so you don't get any spray of hot meat juices or fat on you. Return the roast to the oven and continue cooking for 5-6 more hours at the lower temperature.
After 5 hours have passed, remove the pork from the oven. Increase the heat to 220°C / 425°F / gas 7. Again, secure the roasting pan either on the hob or on a suitable sized trivet and flip the meat over (away from you). Pour in the wine and return the pork to the oven for 45 minutes longer. Baste the meat every 10 minutes or so with the wine and pan juices.
Test by inserting a fork and giving it a little poke. The meat should be quite juicy and pull apart easily. If not, continue cooking the meat for up to 30 minutes longer. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serve with oven roasted tomato chutney or homemade barbecue sauce.
Cook's note: I believe the above method is the easiest way to produce a tender juicy roast with crisp crackling. Yet, I have cooked the roast at a lower temperature (100°C / 200°F / gas 1/4) than the above 150°C / 300°F / gas 2 for an additional hour with equal success. It is a very flexible recipe in terms of cooking time as well as flavour. Try substituting cider for wine and roasting on a bed of leeks with a few sage leaves tucked in around the meat.