Roast Pork Loin is a great sunday roast and with crackling, home made apple sauce, vegetables and even home made gravy, it's a great family dinner. In this recipe, I'll walk you through the timings for the entire meal. I'll give you a countdown so you know when to cook the veg, when to make the gravy, so it's all ready at the right time.
Home made apple sauce and gravy are really easy to do and don't take very much time. I think home made gravy is the best thing about a roast. You get all the flavours from the meat juices and can season it to your own liking.
How to Cook Roast Pork
If you want to cook a joint with crackling, remove all packaging from your joint as soon as you get it home. Dry the rind, cover loosely with greaseproof paper and store in the fridge. Take your pork joint out of the fridge about one hour before cooking and let it come to room temperature. If your joint is fridge temperature, it may need a slightly longer cooking time. Make small cuts in the rind at finger width intervals. Make sure you only cut through the rind and not into the meat. Making cuts in the rind allows the heat to get into the fatty layer. The fat then bubbles up through the cuts and bastes the top during cooking. Dry the rind again before putting it in the oven and rub salt over the rind and into the cuts you've just made.
One of the most common questions people ask about roasting pork, is should you cover it when roasting? The simple answer is no. If you want good crackling, you need to leave your pork joint uncovered, or you will have soggy crackling. The crackling itself, will cover the meat and help make sure it doesn't dry out.
Cooking Times for Roast Pork
These are rough cooking times for a boneless pork joint. As all ovens vary, you should always check your joint is cooked properly. The easiest way to do this is with a meat thermometer. Insert the meat thermometer into the centre of the joint and leave for a few seconds. The internal temperature should be 65 - 70°C.
35 minutes for each 450-500g/1lb plus 35 minutes resting time.
All joints should rest for a further 35 minutes. Resting allows the meat juices to re-distribute into the meat, making sure it is juicy and tender.
Pork should be cooked at a high temperature to start off with. This will really help the crackling go crispy.
Cook at 220°C/420°F/gas mark 7 for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/360°F/gas mark 4 for the rest of the cooking time.
What goes well with Roast Pork?
I think roast potatoes are a must with any roast dinner. The crispiness goes so well with the roast meat. I cut the potatoes into chunks about 4cm² and allow around 4 per person. Serving a green vegetable is important as it gives some colour to the plate. Broccoli or cabbage go well or even peas. Try to use vegetables in season when you can. Other vegetable suggestions include carrots, red cabbage and roast parnips. Put the roast parsnips in the same tray as the potatoes. Leeks in a cheese sauce or 'Cheesy Leeks' as my kids call them are good for adding a sauce (see recipe below). Roast sweet potato and roast beetroot are good choices in autumn and winter when they are in season and help add variety and colour. Apple sauce is most commonly served with roast pork as it adds a nice sweetness.
Home made apple sauce
Making your own apple sauce to go with roast pork is very easy. You just need 1 large cooking apple or 2 smaller eating apples. Don't be afraid to use windfall apples if you have them. As you are chopping them up, any bruised bits can be cut out. Peel and core the apples and cut into small chunks. Put into a small pan with about 4 tablespoons of cold water and cook over a low heat until they are soft. Stir in 10g of butter and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Put into a bowl to serve.
All meat is not the same. A locally produced grass-fed, free range or organic pork joint has a much lower carbon footprint than an industrially produced one. If you have a local butcher, I would always recommend shopping there as your butcher will be able to tell you exactly where the meat has come from. You will also be able to buy the exact size of joint that you need. Don't be afraid to ask your butcher for advice as they are usually really keen to help. You will also find that grass-fed, free range or organic pork has much better flavour than industrially produced meat. The animal welfare stardards are also much higher.
Try to buy the vegetables loose, to minimise packaging and from a local source. Buying vegetables in season have a lower carbon footprint since they don't have to be transported long distances or kept in cold storage.
Leftover Roast Pork Recipes
It's always good to have a plan for any leftovers from a roast. Leftover pork should be stored in the fridge and eaten within 4 - 5 days. Always place leftover meat in the fridge within 1 - 2 hours of serving. Roast Pork can be reheated, but it may become a bit tough or dry. A far better way to use up leftover roast pork, is to incorporate it into a new dish. These are some of my favourite recipes for using up leftover pork. Any leftover vegetables are delicious fried up. Another good option is a vegetable soup. Try this Anything Goes Vegetable Soup recipe for a guide. If you have leftover pork you might like Pork Meatballs with Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce or Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice or how about Pork Stroganoff. Remember, meat should only be reheated once. You can cook fresh pork and add any leftovers to your recipe.
Roast Pork with crackling veg apple sauce and gravy
- 1.25 kg pork loin joint
- 1 dash salt
- 1 onions organic, peeled, quartered
- 900 g potatoes organic, Desiree, Kind Edward, Maris Piper, peeled
- 4 carrots organic, peeled and sliced
- 300 g green seasonal vegetable, broccoli, cabbage etc organic
- 25 g butter organic
- 360 g leeks (2 leeks) organic, diced
- 2 tablespoon plain flour organic
- 250 ml milk organic
- 100 g mature cheddar cheese organic, grated
- 250 g apples organic
- 10 g butter organic
- 1 teaspoon sugar organic, fairtrade
- 1 tablespoon plain flour organic
- 400 ml vegetable stock organic
- Pre-heat the oven to 240°C/475°F/gas mark 9. Using the point of a sharp knife, score the skin of the pork. Cut vertical lines a finger width apart about halfway through the fat beneath the skin. This is to allow the heat to penetrate the fat and bubble up through the cuts to baste the meat as it is cooking. Dry the skin and rub some salt into the cuts. For good crackling the skin must be dry.
- Place the onion in the roasting dish and the pork on top of the onion wedges, skin side up. Put the tin in the oven on a high shelf for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C/360°F/gas mark 4 and cook according to the size of your joint (see below)
- Cut the potatoes into egg size. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes. Drain through a colander and leave them to cool. Give the colander a shake to roughen the edges of the potatoes, this helps the fat to stick and makes them more crispy.
To make the apple sauce
- Peel & chop the apples and put into a pan with 4 tablespoons of cold water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook for 6 - 8 minutes until the apples are soft.
- Take the apples off the heat and beat them with a wooden spoon until they are smooth. Stir in the butter and sugar. If the sauce is too thin, put it back on the heat and stir gently until it thickens. Transfer to a serving bowl.
50 minutes before eating
- Put the potatoes in a separate roasting tin. Drizzle over a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place the tray in the oven with the meat.
30 minutes before eating
- Check the pork is cooked (see not below). Remove it from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Turn the heat up to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 to help crisp off the potatoes. Chop any vegetables such as carrots ready for boiling.
20 minutes before eating
- Fry the leeks in the butter in a pan until softened. Stir in the flour and the milk and bring to a simmer. Stir the cheese into the sauce until melted. Turn the heat off. Reheat a couple of minutes before serving.
15 minutes before eating
- Place carrots in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until soft. Drain and keep to one side.
- Place the meat on a carving dish. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and heat the meat juices then sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a paste. Gradually add the stock stirring all the time until it is simmering and the gravy is smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Strain it into a warmed jug.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.