Loin of pork can be dry. Old breeds, such as Berkshire, Tamworth and Gloucestershire Old Spot, reared outdoors and properly fed, have vastly superior meat but also a tendency to be overly fat. I love this sweet back fat but am happy to trim it ruthlessly for those who do not.
Pig’s trotters cost almost nothing. They were temporarily in vogue a decade back when chefs took to filleting them and shovelling super-expensive titbits like morel mushrooms and calves’ sweetbreads inside. I read somewhere that this is as easy as removing a kid glove but have found in practice that it is a time-consuming nuisance. You may add sweetbreads and morels to the mixture here should you want, but what’s essential to the dish is that you have the deeply savoury taste of the braised trotters in an easily tackled form to contrast with the roast loin.
Mashed parsnip or potato works well with the finished dish and the cooking juices from both the roasting tray and braising pan combine nicely to make a good gravy.
Heat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3). Split the pig’s trotters lengthways and season with salt and pepper. Fry them in a casserole dish until coloured. Add the carrot and onion, then pour on enough stock or water to cover. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 2 hours, or until the meat has come away from the bones and is quite soft.
Drain the cooking liquor from the trotters into a bowl and pick out any bones you can find. Chop the flesh (do not use a food processor) and moisten it with the cooking liquor. Keep this mixture warm in a saucepan, adding the chopped parsley and, if needed, some more salt and pepper.
Roast the loin for about 35–40 minutes at 200°C (400°F/Gas 6), then leave it on a plate to rest while you make the gravy.
Add any remaining trotter stock to the roasting tray and boil to deglaze the pan. Sieve the mixture into a saucepan and simmer for a few moments to reduce – if you have any demi-glace sauce base, you can add a tablespoon of it also.
Spoon the trotter mixture onto each plate and lay slices of roast loin alongside. Serve with the gravy.
© 2000 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.