I'm talking hard cider - the fizzy, alcoholic drink. It's refreshing, cool and kind of tangy. And, in my mind, as long as the alcohol is cooked off, it's definitely paleo. Don't tell me that prehistoric man never drank the juice of a fermented apple. And don't tell me they never got a bit tipsy as the sun set over Stonehenge. They totally did.
That's what I think, anyway.
Although we should be a bit careful with alcohol, because SUGAR.
But you can still cook with it...
Plus, cider goes so well with roasted pork. I've cooked pork belly with cider and garlic, and felt that this combination needed more tinkering. And so I roasted some pork leg until a bit burnished and until the crackling was all crisp and made a tangy, cider-spiked apple sauce to go with it.
The best part? It was so easy to make.
I was sent the meat to make this recipe by Farmer's Choice, an online butcher that provides free-range meat as well as fish and other storecupboard staples. I've worked on recipes using their meat over the past year and a half and the quality has always been superb. Plus it comes frozen, so you just stick it straight in your freezer to defrost when you need it.
Roasted Pork Leg with Cider Apple Sauce
1kg pork leg, boned and rolled
half a teaspoon salt
1 tbsp olive oil
3 large Bramley apples
a mugful of hard (alcoholic) cider
1 bay leaf
salt, to season
First of all, turn your oven up to gas mark 9/240ºC/475ºF. Get out a roasting tray or dish and lay the pork leg on it, with the crackling side up. Gently dab the skin with a kitchen towel to dry it, and then sprinkle with the salt, rubbing it into the scored lines. Finish with a trickle of olive oil and rub all over the pork.
Slide the pork into the very hot oven and cook for 20 minutes. After this time, turn it down to gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF and continue to roast the pork leg for one hour and 20 minutes.
Once the pork is cooked through (cut into it, or use a meat thermometer to make sure it's cooked all the way through and there is no pink remaining), lift it out onto a plate to rest while you quickly make the Cider Apple Sauce and the gravy.
Peel, core and dice the Bramley apples (throwing away the core and the peel) and place into a small saucepan. Turn up the heat to medium and add half the cider. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the apple has broken down and the cider has almost evaporated. You will still have some cider in the apple sauce, but it will have reduced considerably. Turn off the heat, pour into a serving bowl and leave to cool slightly.
Finally, pour the juices that have collected in the roasting dish when you roasted the pork into another saucepan. Add the rest of the cider and bring to a simmer. Drop in the bay leaf, season with a pinch of salt and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
To serve, cut the crackling off the pork and chop it into four pieces. Slice the meat on a chopping board and place on plates with a piece of crackling. Pour the hot cider gravy over the pork and serve with your choice of vegetables and the Cider Apple Sauce.
You might also like my Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Garlic and Cider.
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