The ultimate pork crown roast

  • For the pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, gently smashed and paper removed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4.5kg pork rib roast (about 12 to 14 ribs)
  • Apple Pecan Stuffing, recipe follows
  • Gravy, recipe follows
  • Watercress, for garnish, optional
  • Special equipment: roasting pan fitted with roasting rack
  • For the apple pecan stuffing
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 green apples, peeled and diced
  • 190g raw pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 180ml double cream
  • 320ml low-sodium chicken stock
  • 250g sourdough bread (crusts removed), hand torn into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1) Preheat oven to 190 degrees, gas mark 5. Set rack on the bottom third of the oven so the roast will fit completely inside.

2) In a small mixing bowl or mortar and pestle, combine thyme, sage, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and mash to break up herbs and garlic. Add oil, about 240ml, and combine with pestle.

3) Take crown roast of pork and if your butcher hasn't already prepared it, clean the bones of meat with a boning knife (French them) and make a small cut into the meat in between each rib so you can wrap it into a circle easily; save the scraps. Rub the pork all over with the herb mixture. With the ribs on the outside, wrap the rack around onto itself so the ends meet and secure with kitchen twine so it holds its crown shape.

*Cook's note: if you are doing this by yourself, using a skewer to help hold its shape while you wrap the kitchen twine around the roast.

4) Place in a roasting pan. Add the scraps into the bottom of the pan alongside the roast. This will help add flavour to your sauce. Set aside to bring the pork to room temperature prior to cooking.

5) Make the apple pecan stuffing: Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil, sage and thyme sprigs. As the oil heats up the herbs will crackle and fry, infusing the oil. Remove the sage and thyme and set aside on a paper towel to drain - these can be as a garnish, if desired. Add onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Remove onions from pan and add apples. Crush the pecans and add to the pan. Add more oil, if needed and season with salt and pepper. Gently saute until pecans are lightly toasted and apples are just cooked slightly - about 3 to 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl whisk together egg, cream, chicken stock, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add torn sourdough, caramelized onions, apples, pecans and chopped parsley. Using a wooden spoon, mix the stuffing until well combined.

5) Fill the cavity with apple pecan stuffing.

6) Cover the stuffing and the tips of the rib bones with foil then place the whole roast in the oven and bake for 2 hours and 20 minutes, an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should register 65 degrees when done. About 30 to 45 minutes prior to doneness, remove the foil to brown the stuffing and create a crust. Remove from the oven, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before cutting. Serve with apple pecan stuffing and gravy. Garnish with watercress, if desired.

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