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Pork roast with crispy crackling

Everyone loves roast pork with crackling as part of Christmas dinner. Try this easy pork dinner recipe with 'best ever' crackling this festive season - your family will be talking about how good it was until next year!

INGREDIENTS
2kg (1.8-2.2kg) loin of pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
2 apples, sliced thickly in rounds
2 tablespoons plain flour
50mL white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 cup (250mL) chicken stock

PREPARATION
1. Remove the pork from the fridge and use a sharp knife to score the skin of the pork at 1cm intervals. This does require assertive use of the knife, or get your butcher to do it. Rub the oil into the skin and then the sea salt and black pepper. Make sure you push some salt into the slits. It is a lot of salt, but does ensure fab crackling.

2. Preheat oven to 220°C. Place the onion rounds in the middle of a large baking dish and place the pork on top. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C and roast for another 30 minutes.

3. Remove roast from oven, baste pork and arrange apple slices around pork. Roast for another 20 minutes until apples are tender. At this point, if the crackling has not crackled, increase the oven temperature or turn on the grill and crisp for 5 minutes.

4. Remove pork and apples from oven and rest on a plate for 10 minutes before carving. Use an oven mit to tilt the baking dish so all the fat runs to one corner, spoon off most of the fat, leaving only 2 tablespoons.

5. Heat the dish over a hot plate, stir in plain flour and use a wooden spoon to dislodge all the yummy roasted bits. Pour in white balsamic vinegar, chicken stock and any juices that have collected under the pork. Stir until thickened.

6. Serve the carved pork with the roasted onion rings, apples and gravy. Serve with roast potatoes and beans.

NOTES
I was very reluctant to cook roast pork. Too much fat, too much angst about getting the crackling right. But here it is, and it was sensational. Just try not to think about all that fat. It is Christmas.
The loin of pork was already beautifully rolled and tied by the butcher, so I didn't undo all that work to include a stuffing. If you would like to 'roll your own', try the Classic sage or Prosciutto and cranberry stuffing or prepare Cheat's stuffing separately.
This recipe was created by Melissa Hughes for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best recipe finder.

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