The Friday Feast | 14 June, 2024

Ultimate pork roast pro-tips; short ribs, rings and frites; beetroot risotto w/ blue cheese and walnuts

Come Friday afternoon, if you can focus on much more than knock-off beers, and what’s to cook on the weekend, you have a stronger will than we do. Invariably, as the pieces of the market come together, the minds wander to what we’re buying, from who, and what the results will be. These results are right here, and whilst the meals are yet to materialise, the ideas are fully fledged. Here goes.

Ultimate Pork Roast Pro-tips

Preparing the ultimate pork roast begins with a prime cut. Hard to go wrong with a boned-out leg roll from either Mt. Gnomon Farm or Oldway Farm. Guy and Bjarke respectively raise a mighty fine pig, which will show in the end results.

First things first: crackling. The key is to get the skin as dry as possible. The day before you plan to roast, pat the pork skin dry with paper towels and score it in a crisscross pattern. Rub salt into the cuts, which helps draw out moisture. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight, patting it dry again in the morning, and throughout the day. This step is crucial, critical and basically not negotiable. Your reward for all this effort: crispy, golden crackling.

On the day of the roast, take the pork out of the fridge about 2 hours before cooking to let it come to room temperature. Again, this is absolutely essential to success. Preheat your oven to 240°C. It sounds high, and it is. But this high heat is essential for the initial phase of cooking.

Rub the skin again with a bit more salt and some olive oil to help the crackling process. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting tray to allow air to circulate and the fat to render out. Roast it at a high temperature for about 30 minutes or until the skin has puffed up and begun to blister.

Part 2

Once you’ve achieved the desired crackling, lower the oven temperature to 170°C. Continue roasting the pork for about 25 minutes per 500 grams of meat. For a 2kg leg roll, this would be roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes. However, always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. You’re aiming for an internal temperature of 70°C.

About halfway through the cook, baste the pork with its own fat. Skip this step at your peril.

When the pork is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. Resting is vital. It allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it tender and flavorful.

While the pork is resting, make a simple gravy with the pan drippings. Pour off most of the fat, reserving it for other uses, and leaving a couple of tablespoons in the pan. Place the roasting tray on the stove, add a bit of flour, and cook it out before gradually adding stock, a sploosh of apple cider, and a nudge of Dijon. Whisk hard, continuously. If you put lumpy gravy on this roast, the food gods will smite thee.

Serve your roast pork with your favourite sides and enjoy the perfectly crispy crackling and tender, juicy meat. Even just a little squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of fresh herbs can brighten the flavours and add a finishing touch.

Short ribs, rings and frites

Folks, beef short ribs can change your life. Few things are heartier or winterier than a short rib. Once braised, you can take then in different directions too. Shredded for a pie or pasta, cooked back into a bean braise. Chilled and BBQ’d again for crispy crunch edges *drools*. Look for well-marbled pieces. Good marbling means tender, flavourful ribs.

Begin by seasoning the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy, oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, adding a bit of oil. Brown the ribs on all sides until you get a nice, caramelised crust. Essential for developing deep, rich flavours.

Once the ribs are browned, remove them from the pot and set them aside. In the same pot, add diced onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown. Add a couple of cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Pour a glass of red wine into the pot, and then pour another for yourself. Scrape up all the delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Let the wine reduce slightly before adding beef stock, a sprig of thyme, and a bay leaf. Return the short ribs to the pot, ensuring they are mostly submerged in the liquid.

Cover the pot and transfer it to a preheated oven at 160°C. Braise the ribs for about 3 hours, or until they are fork-tender and falling off the bone. Check occasionally, making sure the liquid level is sufficient, adding more stock if necessary.

Rings and Frites

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the frites. Peel and cut potatoes into thin strips. Soak them in cold water for at least an hour to remove excess starch, which helps them crisp up nicely. After soaking, drain and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.

Heat oil in a deep fryer or a heavy pot to 160°C. Fry the potatoes in batches until they are soft but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. For the second fry, increase the oil temperature to 190°C. Fry the potatoes again until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt immediately.

For the onion rings, slice large onions into thick rings. Separate the rings and soak them in buttermilk for an hour. This step tenderises the onions and adds flavour. In a separate bowl, mix flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Heat oil to 190°C. Dredge the onion rings in the seasoned flour, then fry in batches until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Once the short ribs are done, remove them from the pot and strain the cooking liquid, discarding the solids. Skim off any excess fat and reduce the liquid on the stovetop until it reaches a sauce-like consistency.

Serve the tender beef short ribs with the reduced sauce drizzled over them, accompanied by crispy frites and onion rings. A big flourish or chopped spring onions is the go for a garnish here.

Beetroot risotto w/ blue cheese and walnuts

We’ve discussed risotto (riso) in this blog before, so for this one, we’ll presume you’re pretty au fait with it in the general sense.

You’ll need two medium-sized beetroots. Wrap them in foil and roast at 200°C for about 45 minutes until they’re tender. Once they’re cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and blend them into a smooth puree with some butter, and a littel splash of sherry vinegar, to balance the sweetness. Beetroot and sherry vinegar are besties.

From here, you’re basically making a riso bianco: a simple white riso with wine and stock.

While drinking the remaining wine, stir and cook the risotto. This slow and steady process releases wine to the stomach and the rice’s starches, creating the desirable creamy texture and tipsy buzz.

About three-quarters through, stir in your beetroot puree. This will turn your riso to a stunning magenta. Continue adding broth until the rice is al dente — tender but with a slight bite.


Crumble in about 100 grams of blue cheese, stirring gently until it melts into the risotto.

To finish, toast half a cup of chopped walnuts (hazelnuts will make a fine substitute this time of year) in a dry pan until they’re golden and fragrant. Garnish with a drizz of olive oil, any remaining blue cheese, the nuts, and a generous sprinkle of finely chopped chive, for that electric green pop.

Cook, cook, cook. That’s how we do.

See you tomorrow!

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