Nothing beats the smell of crackling roast pork at home, during Christmas, with rosemary and basil fragrance roaming the air. It compliments the jingles that play continuously on the radio and the end-of-year festive aura that lingers everywhere.
Making a roast pork crackling is not exactly an easy feat though. One has to work hard at the knocking on and poking of the skin to tenderise the meat as well as get lots of holes in the skin before sending the stuffed roll into the oven. That alone requires finesse and muscle might. Next is to ensure that the oven temperature is blazing enough to crackle the skin to a desired crispiness, yet not too hot to get the rest of the meat overcooked. The whole process takes a lot of trial-and-error before a well-done stuffed meat can be rolled out of the oven.
A much easier alternative would be to stick to a smaller piece of pork loin first, without the skin and belly, since it takes away the additional effort of ensuring the skin crackles nicely. However, we were unable to get hold of any nice pieces of pork loin at any supermarkets at all and so had to brave the challenges of making a stuffed roast pork with crackling on our very first attempt.
- Pork tenderloin with skin and belly: 1.5kg
- Sea salt: 1 tsp + 2 tbsp
- Pesto sauce: 3/4 cup
- Green apple: 1, peeled, cored and diced
- Spinach leaf: 1/2 pack, rinsed
- Pistachio nut: 1/2 pack, roughly ground
- Olive oil: 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup
- Rosemary: 2 stalks
- Slice pork belly horizontally through to open it up into one flat piece, with a 1.5″ thickness throughout.
- Turn the loin to the skin side. Use a knife to score the skin diagonally across both ways. Use a mallet to tenderise the skin throughout.
- Turn the loin to the meat side. Use a mallet to tenderise the meat and knock it flat.
- Sprinkle 1 tsp sea salt and spread pesto sauce evenly onto meat.
- Distribute apple, spinach and pistachio nuts evenly onto meat.
- Sprinkle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Roll up and tie with butcher string.
- Rub skin with remaining salt and olive oil.
- Secure rosemary stalks onto roll by inserting them into the string.
- Leave pork roll in fridge to dry overnight.
- Preheat oven at 220 degrees Celsius. Roast pork for 20 min.
- Reduce heat to 190 degrees Celsius. Roast for another 45 min. Check that the internal temperature of the meat has reached 70 – 75 degrees Celsius before removing from the oven.
- Leave pork to rest for 15min before slicing.
- Serve with roasted vegetables and gravy if desired.
- Rubbing salt onto the skin and leaving the pork roll overnight in the fridge allows the skin to dry sufficiently so that it achieves the crackling effect when roasted.
- The skin was cooked well during this first attempt, with a desired crackling effect that we were looking forward to. The meat was a bit tough in the middle though, because I left a whole 3″ chunk in the meat unsliced and therefore unstuffed. Well, there’s always a first time!
- A whole piece of pork loin can cost a bomb in Singapore. We got ours at $5 per 100g – that’s $75 gone for just a chunk of meat! Yikes! 😳
1 roll (about 8 – 10 slices)