Roasted Pork Neck with Leeks, Carrots and Apples
(can easily adjust recipe for smaller serving)
For the roast:
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the pork neck in a roasting pan and smear the mustard all over it. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tuck the garlic slices and sage sprig under the pork and place in the oven, on the top rack. Roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the pork is beginning to turn a golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and drain off any excess fat.
- In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Top and tail the peeled carrots and cut into batons as long and thick as your ring finger. Cut the leeks into 2-cm slices, and quarter the onions. Heat the olive oil and butter in a big pan or wok and add the carrots, leeks and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, over a high heat for five minutes, or until the leeks and onions begin to take on a little colour. Core the apples and cut into wedges, but do not peel. Now add the apple to the pan along with the garlic, the thyme, and the sage.
- Cook, tossing frequently, for another three minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pork neck from its pan and put it aside. Spread the vegetables and apple in the roasting pan and set the pork neck on top. Pour in the stock and/or white wine. Put the pan back in the oven and reduce the heat to 150° C. Bake, uncovered, for about an hour and a half, or until the vegetables are soft and glazed and the pork is meltingly tender. Check the dish every half hour or so: if the stock has boiled away, add a little more. By the time it's finished cooking, there should be just a few tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.
- Remove the pork and set aside to rest for ten minutes. Lift the vegetables from the roasting pan - leaving a few bits of carrot, leek, onion and garlic behind - using a slotted spoon, and keep warm. Put the roasting pan on the hob and turn the heat onto high. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir well, scraping to dislodge any golden residue. Cook for two or so minutes, pressing on the remaining veg bits with the back of a spoon. Now pour in a cup of stock or stock/wine combination, and, using a whisk, stir vigorously until the sauce thickens and bubbles alarmingly. Thin the gravy with more stock, water or wine to the desired consistency (I know it's old-fashioned, but I like a thickish gravy).
- Turn down the heat to very low and and allow to bubble gently for five minutes. If the gravy seems a bit pallid, add a dash of soy sauce.
- Carve the pork into thickish slices and serve with the vegetables and gravy.