- about 2½ kg British pork loin
One of the most versatile types of meat, pork is economical, tender if cooked correctly, and…
- 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thin slivers
- 7 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 1 lemon, juice only
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 1 tsp dried fennel seed
A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…
- 8 sprigs fresh oregano
Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…
- 300g shallot
Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…
- 1 large celeriac, quartered and peeled
The unsung hero of the vegetable world, knobbly, odd-shaped celeriac has a subtle, celery-like…
- 1 x 130g twin-pack cubetti di pancetta (small cubes of Italian cured belly pork)
Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…
- 600ml full-bodied red wine – drink the remainder!
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Using a small, sharp kitchen knife, stab through the fatty side of the pork loin to make about 30 fairly deep, randomly spaced incisions. Insert a sliver of garlic into each stab mark, pushing the garlic well into the meat and smoothing over the fat to close up the entry points. Reserve a few slivers to push in cuts made on the flesh-side of the joint.
Put 5 tablespoons of the olive oil, the juice of the lemon, tbsp of fennel seeds and the leaves stripped from 4 oregano sprigs in a large non-reactive dish (a non-porous dish, such as glass or stainless steel, which won’t react with acidic foods and alter the flavour). Grind in plenty of black pepper, then swish everything into a sludge with one clean hand. Put the joint into the dish and massage the marinade into every nook and cranny. Leave the pork to marinade for 6-24 hours in a cool place or the fridge.
When you are ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 4/fan oven 150C. Put the 300g of shallots in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 2 minutes to loosen the skins, then tip the shallots into a large sieve or colander and rinse under cold water. Trim off the root end, then peel the shallots, breaking any large ones into their natural segments. Halve the 4 celeriac wedges, then cut into large, bite-sized chunks.
Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Toss in the 130g pack of pancetta and fry for 2-3 minutes until slightly frazzled. Transfer the cubes to a large casserole big enough to take the pork, using a slotted spoon so the fat drains back into the pan. Throw the shallots and celeriac into the frying pan and sauté them for 3-4 minutes until coloured, turning frequently. Transfer them to the casserole, again draining off the oil.
Pull the frying pan to one side. Quickly scrape off any excess marinade from the pork loin, then season the meat with fine sea salt. Replace the frying pan over a medium-high heat and brown the pork on all sides, including the ends. Place the loin on the vegetables in the casserole. Stuff the remaining 4 sprigs of oregano around it.
Pour off and discard all the fat in the frying pan, raise the heat and pour in the 600ml of wine. Bring to the boil, scraping up all the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine bubble and reduce for 3 minutes, then pour into the casserole.
Place the casserole over a high heat and bring the juices up to a bubble. Immediately put the lid on the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the loin for 1 hour 45 minutes, turning it halfway through. Remove the casserole from the oven and leave the pork to rest in a warm place for 15-30 minutes, still covered, before carving.
Make it leaner
Get your butcher to remove the skin and some of the fat (leaving about 5mm/¼in), as well as the chine bone – also called the back bone or vertebra – from the pork loin.
Obviously you need to allow time for the pork to marinate. You can also peel the shallots in advance but don't pre-prepare the celeriac as it will discolour.