Pork neck with cider and pistachios
The classic combination of pork and cider features in this striking dish.
Photo: Marina Oliphant
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- 1.5kg pork neck (ask the butcher to leave 5mm of fat covering)
- 350g pure pork Italian-style sausages
- 1 egg
- 50g shelled pistachio nuts, blanched, skinned and rubbed dry
- poultry pins
- salt, pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 onions, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups farmhouse cider
- 8 small potatoes
- 8 carrots peeled, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 150C.
Place pork neck on board, fat-side down. Make a lengthwise cut in the pork neck to about one-third of the depth. Carefully make another lengthwise cut about 3cm to the left of the original cut, and another lengthwise cut 3cm to the right of the original cut. You should now be able to open up the pork neck along its length, ready for stuffing.
Lay a sheet of plastic over the meat and pound lightly with the flat side of a mallet to flatten the meat a little.
Skin the sausages and mix the sausage meat with the egg and the nuts. Spread this mix to within 2cm of the edges of the meat.
Roll the pork back into shape and skewer the edges together with the pins. Tie the roll of meat at intervals and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. (If you prefer, you can sew up the edges of the meat using a special needle available at kitchen stores and fine string. Leave a long thread dangling to make it easy to pull out your stitching.) Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a good non-stick pan or a large, enamelled cast iron casserole large enough to hold all the ingredients. Saute the onions and garlic until well softened and transfer to a baking dish.
Settle the pork roll in the centre of the dish and scatter the thyme sprigs and bay leaf on top. Pour in the cider, cover and cook for 3 hours. Every 45 minutes, baste the meat with a spoonful of the juices.
Add the potatoes and carrot chunks and cook for a further hour.
At the end of the cooking time a skewer should slip easily through the meat. Uncover the dish for the last 15 to 20 minutes to brown the top.
Remove meat to a warm platter with the vegetables.
Transfer the baking dish to the top of the stove and bubble up the juices.
Remove pins and all string. Slice thickly and grind a little fresh pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt onto each slice.
Because the texture and flavour of this dish is mellow and soft, I prefer to serve a vegetable with a little crunch and a bright-green colour - maybe brussels sprouts, or green beans or very lightly stir-fried savoy cabbage.
There is an enormous difference between commercial cider and farmhouse cider, the cider that readers may have tried in the southwest of England or in Normandy, or one of the special ciders produced at Harcourt. The best ciders get their bubbles from a secondary fermentation in the bottle rather than from an injection of carbon dioxide.
This recipes is featured in the book, Autumn which is available now in all good bookstores RRP $34.95. To order direct call 1300 656 059 or visit www.smh.com.au/store