Recipes, Pork Recipes

Roasted pork leg w/ quince, red cabbage & creamed sprouts

A feast of a meal, with a perfectly roasted joint of pork at its centre. It might just make a fitting alternative to a turkey on your Christmas dinner table.

Possibly not the first joint that comes to peoples’ minds when they think of a celebratory meal. However, that would be to overlook what, in the right hands, can be a fantastic cut of pork. The flesh of the leg is lean and so needs careful cooking, but the flavour is complex and it comes with a great cover of fat, plus rind that is perfect for crackling. This recipe was devised with the festive period in mind and I actively encourage those who are looking for an alternative to turkey to give it a go. Probably worth bearing in mind that it would also be great throughout all of the winter months.

Overhead view of roasted pork leg on quinces and apples.

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

For the red cabbage:

For the creamed sprouts:

For the roasted potatoes:

For the apple sauce:

Method

For the pork:

  1. First start by seasoning the pork: place the black peppercorns and the fennel seeds in a small pan and set over a medium heat, toasting the spices for 3-4 minutes. Then tip into a pestle and mortar and grind until fine. Then add 2 tablespoons of sea salt and combine thoroughly.
  2. Take the seasoning and rub all over the pork leg joint. Set to one side, uncovered and out of the fridge for about 3 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 210°C.
  4. Place the quartered quince, shallots and sage in a large roasting tray and season with a little sea salt.
  5. Drizzle a little olive oil over the pork leg and then nestle in amongst the quince and shallots. Add the cider and 200ml of chicken stock to the tray and place in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the temperature down to 145°C and cook for a further 2-2 ¼ hours, or until a thermometer reads 54-56°C. At this point, remove the tray from the oven and return the temperature to 220°C. Once the oven is up to temperature return the tray and cook for 10-12 minutes. This last blast at the higher temperature will get that crackling extra crispy and help the internal temperature reach 58-60°C. At which point it is ready for a good rest; at least 1 hour. During resting the internal temperature will reach the mid 60’s, which is ideal.
  7. Remove the pork, quince and shallots from the tray and then set the tray over a high heat. Add 500ml of fresh chicken stock and simmer gently until the consistency of a good gravy is achieved. It should be beautiful and sweet with the essence of the quinces.

For the red cabbage:

  1. Remove any bruised outer leaves from the cabbage and then cut it into quarters, remove the root from the bottom and then coarsely shred. Place in a large casserole and season well with sea salt. Leave to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 150°C.
  3. Then add all the other ingredients and, using your hands, mix well.
  4. Set the pot over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours.
  5. Halfway through the cooking time, take the casserole out of the oven and give it a stir.
  6. After two hours, remove from the oven and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.
  7. This could very easily be made the day before, and in fact could well be better if done so.

For the apple sauce:

  1. Put the butter and star anise in a suitably sized pan and cook on a medium heat until the butter just begins to brown. Then add the apples, cider, sugar and a pinch of salt to the pan, stir together, cover with a lid and cook for 6-7 minutes on a medium heat. Turn the heat off and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir together well and check for seasoning, adjusting as necessary. If the apples at the bottom of the pan have begun to caramelise, this is a good thing.

For the creamed sprouts:

  1. Bring a large pan of well-seasoned water to the boil.
  2. Blanch the sprouts for about 4 minutes and then drain in a colander.
  3. Meanwhile, set a wide, heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and then the bacon lardons. Cook them for about 8 minutes, until lovely and caramelised and swimming in their own fat.
  4. Turn the heat up and carefully add the sprouts. Season with a small amount of salt, a good few grinds of black pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Cook over a high heat, stirring regularly for 5 minutes – hopefully some of the sprouts will pick up some char.
  5. Pour in the cream, plus a splash of water, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

For the roast potatoes:

  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water, season well with sea salt and set over a high heat, with a lid on. Once simmering, reduce the heat and cook the potatoes for about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then lay them flat on a tray and leave them to cool completely.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  4. Separate the duck fat evenly between two large roasting trays and place them in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Very carefully, as the fat will now be very hot, remove the trays from the oven. Still being very careful, split the potatoes between the two trays, scattering over the garlic and sage. Turn the potatoes over in the fat, so that they are well coated, and then transfer the trays back to the oven, reduce the heat to 180°C, and cook for 12 minutes.
  6. Use a spatula to turn the potatoes over and cook for a further 12 minutes.
  7. Repeat this step twice more.
  8. Remove from the oven and drain off as much of the fat as possible.

Shop the ingredients