Pork with Nuts

This delectable and unusual roast is an easy and successful version of the ancient New Forest dish of pork roasted over shelled beech nuts. It is very good indeed made with pine kernels but as these are difficult to obtain and expensive, it is usually made with a mixture of chopped walnuts and almonds. (Hazelnuts give a slightly musty flavour.) The nuts are delicious with the crisp crackling of the pork. Serve with red-currant or crab-apple jelly and runner beans.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 lb (2 to 2½ kg) top leg of pork
  • ¼ cup (30 g) seasoned flour
  • cups (120 g) walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (90 g) almonds, finely chopped
  • cup (90 g) fresh fine brown breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • lb ( kg) potatoes, peeled and halved

Method

Rub the pork over with seasoned flour. Mix the nuts with the breadcrumbs and ½ teaspoon of salt. Butter a large baking tin thickly, and pour the nut mixture down the centre, working it up with your hands to form a loose, flat cake. Put a rack over this and set the pork on it. Roast at 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 6) for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, parboil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes. After the pork has roasted for 30 minutes, remove the baking tin from the oven, baste the pork, and put the parboiled potatoes in the baking tin. Return the baking tin to the oven. The nuts which slip from the main cake will adhere deliciously to the potatoes.

When ready to serve, remove the pork to a warm flat dish and the potatoes to a vegetable dish. Lift the nuts with a slice, keeping them in a cake as far as possible and put in a separate small dish. Keep all hot while you make the gravy in the baking tin.

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