We seem to have had a spate of ridiculously cheap pork on offer at our local supermarket recently. We buy most of our meat from one of a couple of very fine butchers we have locally. Nevertheless, even when you are not looking to buy a leg of pork, if it is offered to you at £2 per kg, there is a real need to go and look for a recipe. I am always a little cautious of expecting too much from inexpensive meat and so this African inspired spiced pork recipe from my friend Julie from Meat Smoke Fire Ltd seemed a perfect way of using this leg of pork. The spicing inspiration is African and by using a ready made Harissa mix as the basis for the marinade is very straightforward and would cover any slight blandness that you may suspect with commercial supermarket pork. Equally, whilst this is a roasted dish, the basting of the meat with the lemon and wine stock adds an element of a ‘braise’ and would hopefully add some tenderness to the meat.
To make the marinade the herbs and spices (oregano, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, marjoram or savory, turmeric) were ground in a mortar with 1tsp of course sea salt. This was then added to 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 2tbsp of ready made Harissa and 60ml of olive oil to make a paste. We took the skin off the pork but left as much of the fat in place as possible. The meat was then slashed to make 8-10 deep cuts and the paste was rubbed all over the meat and into the slits. The meat was then covered and left to marinade at room temperature for an hour or so.
The Big Green Egg was set up for indirect cooking with platesetter in place (feet up). A little cherry wood was also added as a final ‘spicing’ for the mix. All that was left to prepare was to quarter 2 onions lengthways and to mix the lemon juice and white wine. These were then set to one side.
When ready to cook, the pork was placed fat side down in the roasting dish and cooked for about half an hour. The meat was then removed from the roasting dish and the quartered onions were arranged in the centre as a trivet. The pork was turned fat side up and placed on the trivet of onions. The lemon and wine mix was then poured over the top of the meat. The EGG was closed and left to cook for another 40-60 minutes opening to baste the meat with the cooking juices every 10 minutes or so. Once the internal temperature reached around 70C the meat was removed, wrapped in foil and left to rest for at least 20 minutes. The cooking juices were reduced to form a pouring sauce. The meat was generously sliced and served with cauliflower and the roasted onions. The cauliflower was a perfect foil for the spicy pork and carried the spicing from the sauce beautifully.
I would highly recommend giving the dish a go. The results were spicy but not too hot, and very very tender!!
…………….if you want to add a little spice to your roast pork now is your chance!
African Spiced Roast leg of Pork
Roasted skinless leg of pork with African spices
- 1tsp coarse sea salt
- 2tsp dried oregano
- 2tsp caraway seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2tsp turmeric
- 2tbsp harissa
- 3 crushed cloves garlic
- 60ml olive oil
- 1.5kg boneless pork leg roasting joint - skin removed
- 60ml lemon juice
- 80ml dry white wine
- 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
- Step 1 For the marinade: grind the oregano, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, marjoram and turmeric in a mortar with 1tsp of course sea salt. Add this to 3 crushed cloves of garlic and 2tbsp of ready made Harissa and 60ml of olive oil to make a paste. Slash the meat after the skin is removed to make 8-10 deep cuts. Rub the marinade paste all over the meat and into the slits. Cover and leave to marinade at room temperature for an hour
- Step 2 Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking with platesetter in place (feet up). Add a little cherry wood.
- Step 3 Quarter 2 onions lengthways. Mix the lemon juice and white wine and then set these to one side.
- Step 4 When ready to cook, place the pork fat side down in the roasting dish and cook for about half an hour.
- Step 5 Remove the meat from the roasting dish add the quartered onions in the centre as a trivet. Turn the pork over and sit on the onion trivet. Pour the lemon and wine mix over the top of the meat. Close the EGG and leave to cook for another 40-60 minutes. Baste the meat with the cooking juices every 10 minutes or so.
- Step 6 Remove once the internal temperature reaches 70C and wrap in foil to rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Step 7 Reduce the cooking juices to form a pouring sauce.
- Step 8 Slice the meat and serve with cauliflower and the roasted onions.