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In a small bowl, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt. Strip the leaves from 2 of the rosemary sprigs and put on a chopping board. Add the juniper berries and chop both well. Stir the rosemary and juniper into the garlic, then mix in the olive oil.
Place the pork, skin side down, in a large, shallow roasting tin. Poke a few holes in the fleshy side with the point of a knife, being careful not to go right through, then massage the garlic mixture evenly into the meat. Turn skin side up, tucking the bay leaves underneath. Dry the skin thoroughly with a bit of kitchen paper. If the skin doesn’t look properly scored, use a very sharp knife to make a few more slits.
Scatter 1 teaspoon fine salt evenly over the skin and massage it lovingly into the crevices. Rub the skin with a splash of olive oil, then scatter over a few pinches of sea salt flakes. Leave at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas Mark 9. Put in the pork, and cook for 25 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and leave it alone for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut a line through the skin around the equator of the apples – this will help them stay roughly in one piece as they bake rather than splitting their sides in a dramatic explosion.
Add to the roasting tin around the pork, together with the onion quarters and remaining rosemary, and quickly toss the fruit and vegetables around so they are coated in the fat.
Return the tin to the oven for another 1 hour, by which time the meat should be cooked through, the onions caramelised and soft and the apples on the verge of collapse. The crackling should have popped as well, but if it hasn’t quite done its thing, carefully slice it away from the top of the meat and return it on its own to the oven, turning the heat up high, until it bubbles and crisps.
Transfer everything else to a serving dish and keep warm for 10 minutes while you make the gravy.
Place the roasting tin on the hob, pour in the cider and allow it to bubble away for a couple of minutes, scraping all the caramelised bits off the bottom. Pour in the stock and bubble for 5 minutes, or until the gravy thickens a little. Taste and season.
Carve the pork at the table, giving everyone an apple and some of the red onion, or just pile everything back into the serving dish and let people help themselves. A jug or bowl for the gravy would be a good idea.
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anil_sabharwal 3 days 6 hours agoWow, so tasty! Served with some garlic mash.
Artemalia 1 year agoExcellent recipe; clear instructions with delicious, indeed impressive results - highly recommended!