I can’t help the porky posts. I know I’ve gushed about hot roast pork rolls here and no doubt I shall write about them again. I make no apologies, it’s an addiction.
And it is rugby-time.
Here’s a treat for the six-nations weekends. I heartily recommend doing what we did last match - the boys came on over for a rugby lunch - a help yourself DIY hot belly-pork roll with a dollop of homemade apple sauce and a thick smear of caramelised onions. Perfect with the biggest bottles of British ale you can find.
It's the caramelised onions that makes this.
I learnt the secret of these onions when I was out in the South of France learning Provencal cookery from the extremely talented Alex Mackay.
The secret was simple. Patience.
I am an instant-gratification kind of girl. I'm not keen on waiting or stirring much (which is why I’ve never made risotto), so these onions are not as faithfully caramelised as what Alex would use in a Pissaladière (this fantastic recipe is in his book Cooking in Provence).
But I do make vast amounts and keep in a sterilised jar. A sort of condiment that goes well with almost everything savoury, the onions make great friends cold with a cheese sandwich, or hot on a steak.
Hot roast pork rolls with caramelised onions
Most of this can be made in advance.
The sagey pork
Get yourself a large slab of belly pork. Score and heavily salt the fat. Preferably leave overnight, but at least for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 240C. Slice the whole layer of fat off with a sharp knife and place sage leaves onto the meat as pictured. Put the layer of fat back on top and roast for 20 minutes before reducing the heat to 200C. Roast for 40-45 minutes until crispy. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then slice thickly.
While the pork is roasting, slice five mild onions. Slug a little mild olive oil and a large wedge of butter into a heavy-bottomed pan. Heat gently until foaming, and throw the onions in. Let them cook gently for at least 15 - 20 minutes and stir occasionally to avoid catching on the bottom. Add a large pinch of salt, and two teaspoons of golden caster sugar. Add a little water every now and then to moisten and make gloopy - cover occasionally if you think they look like they will dry out to steam them a little. Cook for about 15 more minutes until a gorgeous goldeny colour.
Take floury white bap bottom. Layer with butter, Tracklements English mustard (warning - hot!), apple sauce, onions. Lay on three thick slices of pork, some crackling, salad leaves and floury white bap top.
Sink your teeth into that and get ready for some prime rugby.
Thanks to British Onions for sending me a vast selection of shallots and onions. I had too much fun experimenting.