A forgotten cut of pork and definitely my favourite – middle of pork combines the tenderness of loin with the flavour of belly. The belly also bastes the loin whilst cooking to ensure it remains super moist and tender.
Get your butcher to leave just enough belly attached to the loin to ensure the skin wraps around fully but does not overlap – which will help achieve some great crackling.
This is a simple recipe for perfectly cooked pork middle with apple sauce. Great served with roasted root vegetables.
Middle of Pork, Apple Sauce
For the Pork: 1 Half Middle of Pork (Rolled and tied as above and skin scored), Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, Olive Oil, 1 Garlic Bulb (Halved), Handful Thyme Sprigs
For the Apple Sauce: 6 Cooking Apples (Peeled, Cored and Chopped), 25g Unsalted Butter, Caster Sugar, Zest 1/2 Lemon, Fresh Nutmeg
1) Preheat the oven to 220c. Coat the outside of the pork middle with a thin layer of olive oil and season well with sea salt. Place on a roasting tray belly side down and transfer to the oven. Cook at 220c for 20 minutes. Turn the pork so the belly side is facing up and cook at 220c for a further 20 minutes. Turn the pork back to its original position and reduce the oven temperature to 160c. Cook the pork for a further 3-4 hours or until the belly is tender and the crackling is crisp (you may need to increase the oven temperature to 190c for the last hour of cooking to crisp the crackling). When ready, remove from the oven and allow to rest in the roasting tray for at least 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, make the apple sauce. Place the apple segments in a saucepan with the butter and add a small splash of water. Cover with a lid and stew the apples over a low heat until tender, stirring occasionally, for around 30 minutes or until the apples are cooked down. Transfer the apples to a blender and blend to a purée. Return the purée to the pan and add the lemon zest. Season to taste with sugar and freshly grated nutmeg. Set aside.
3) Slice the pork middle, season each slice with a little sea salt and black pepper and serve the pork with the apple purée. Great served with roasted root vegetables.