With flavours redolent of the Italian classic, porchetta, this is a delicious way to give new flavours to roast pork.
You can use this rub on any cut of pork you like, whether a roast pork loin, or a slow-cooked shoulder, cooking methods below.
Delicious served with roasted vegetables such as peppers, red onion wedges, thick slices of courgette and aubergine (eggplant), slow roasted in olive oil and a little splash of balsamic vinegar with a little optional oregano. You can also deglaze the juices in the bottom of the pan with a little white wine and/or pork or chicken stock to make a light gravy.
1.3kg pork loin (as in the photo above, or you could use a heavier shoulder of pork and slow cook it, see tips below)
2 small onions
For the rub
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
Rind of the orange, finely grated
Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp dried marjoram
Leaves from 2-3 sprigs of young thyme (about 1 tsp) or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
4 garlic cloves
Optional 1/2 tsp dried chilli pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
Digital thermometer / probe (see tips)
Crush the fennel seeds into a coarse powder, and crush or grate the garlic cloves. Mix all of the ingredients together and rub onto the pork (if it has a layer of fat, score it first) and then put into the fridge in a covered dish and leave for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight if possible.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8 / 230C / 210C fan oven, then slice the onions, orange and lemon into 1cm slices, put the pork on top of them in a baking tray or dish, and roast in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Then turn the heat down to gas mark 4 / 180C / 160C fan oven, and cook for a further 1 hour 45-55 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 71C (this is paramount if you want perfectly moist and juicy pork - a very small investment in a digital thermometer / probe for a few pounds/dollars is invaluable in the kitchen).
Leave to rest for 20 minutes to half an hour, while you cook / finish cooking accompaniments, and if desired add a little wine and / or light stock (e.g. chicken) to the juices in the pan, stir it in, strain, then reduce, season to taste and serve alongside the pork.
Delicious served with new / baby potatoes par boiled, then roasted with whole garlic cloves in their skins and rosemary until turning golden, and roasted Mediterranean vegetables (as above e.g. peppers, courgettes, red onion wedges, aubergines etc.) cooked with a little splash of balsamic, olive oil and seasoning.
My only regret? Not taking a photo of the pork sliced, looking all juicy and moist and delicious - we practically inhaled it!
Regarding food thermometers / temperature probes. The Polder programmable digital oven thermometer* is the one which I use, it's inexpensive (currently £12.99 on Amazon UK, as per the link) and does the job perfectly - and also has an alarm to tell you when to remove certain meats / poultry from the oven and let them rest, so that they don't overcook (the internal temperature continues to rise after removing from the oven). I highly recommend it, as you can put the probe into the meat, while the thermometer sits outside the oven (or BBQ!) and I use it all the time to check that my meat is cooked to perfection (as well as when making yoghurt!).
*This is an Amazon affiliate link for the Polder thermometer. Clicking on the link will simply take you to view the product on Amazon, and not cost you anything whatsoever. Should you decide to purchase the product from the link above, you will not pay a penny extra, but I will get a minute percentage of the proceeds from Amazon which goes towards funding this blog and developing recipes. Essentially, it makes no difference to you at all, but go Google them too if you're interested in buying them, to see what the best deal is for you! I only include the links, as I'd be giving you a link to Amazon anyway, as it's the easiest place to find things :)