- 2kg rolled pork belly joint, skin scored and tied
- 6 small eating apples
Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…
- 6 small onions, peeled but skins kept
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 6 Cumberland sausages
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…
- 2 tsp ground mace
- 50g walnuts, chopped
Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 300ml cider (we used medium dry)
Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Apple orchards were…
- 700ml pork or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp honey (optional)
Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…
- roast potatoes, to serve
The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…
- green vegetables, to serve
The day before, sit the pork on a wire rack over a dish and put in the fridge, uncovered, so the skin has time to dry out.
Using a sharp knife, cut a roughly 3cm-wide ‘core’ from all the apples and onions. Coarsely grate as much apple flesh as you can from their ‘cores’ before you hit the seeds. Put the grated apple in a mixing bowl, snip the skins of the sausages and squeeze the meat out into the bowl too. Add the breadcrumbs, fennel seeds, mace and walnuts. Mix well with a little seasoning. Push some of the stuffing mixture into every onion and apple, packing it tightly and mounding the top as it will shrink a little during cooking (any extra stuffing can be rolled into the size of golf balls and roasted alongside).
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Rub the pork with 1 tbsp of the oil and plenty of sea salt. Break up the onion cores and reserved skins to build a trivet in the middle of your largest roasting tin, then sit the pork joint on top. Roast for 1 hr, then lower the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and roast for another hour.
Rub the outsides of the apples and onions with another 1 tbsp of oil, then sit just the onions around the pork, loosely covered with some foil. Roast for a further 35 mins, then add the apples to the tin too, removing the foil from the onions. Bake for a further 25 mins until all the stuffing is cooked through, and the onions and apples are tender but the apples are still holding their shape. Lift the pork, apples and onions onto a serving platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. If the onions aren’t soft enough for your liking, re-cover with foil and keep baking in the oven while you make the gravy.
Pour any juices from the roasting tin into a jug. When the fat has separated, discard it and pour the meaty juices back into the tin. Put the tin on the hob and stir in the flour to a smooth paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 min, then gradually whisk in the cider, followed by the stock. Bring to the boil and bubble until the gravy has reduced a little and is of a good consistency. Sieve into another pan or gravy jug to get rid of all the onion bits and season well - if it needs sweetening, add some honey to taste.
Thickly slice the rested pork at the table, making sure everyone gets a good portion of crunchy crackling, then share out the sausage-stuffed apples and onions. Add roasties, some green veg, and a generous glug of the cider gravy.