Roast Boned Leg of Pork with a Spiced Orange Rub and Orange Sweet Potatoes
(recipe, Tamasin Day-Lewis)
Pork marries beautifully with the digestif of an herb that is fennel seed, and the star anise, dill seed, Pernod, and oily orange zest work harmoniously together, particularly if rubbed well into the meat and left to penetrate for some time. If you can, buy pork with a thick coating of ivory fat. And if you can prepare this the night before, do; the maceration will tenderize and flavor the roast more deeply.
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 3 star anise
- 1 tsp. dill seeds
- Sea salt and black peppercorns
- 2 crushed fresh bay leaves
- Handful of fresh dill, chopped
- Zest of 2 oranges, grated
- Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. Pernod
- 4¼ lb. boned leg of pork, untied
- 1 onion, sliced
- Sweet potatoes (1 per person)
- In a mortar, crush the fennel seeds coarsely with the star anise, dill seeds, sea salt, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. Add the fresh dill and orange zest and stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub the paste well into the opened-out pork where the bone has been removed and all over the outside of the meat and into the crevices where the fat has been slashed. Concentrate on the inside of the roast, the fat, and the ends. Splosh on a bit of Pernod and put the roast, covered, in the refrigerator. Leave overnight if you can.
- Bring the meat to room temperature before you roll it up and tie it with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Place the joint on top of the sliced onion in a roasting pan. Sprinkle some sea salt over the roast and put it in the oven. Roast for 40 minutes at 400 degrees, then baste the roast and turn the oven down to 375 degrees.
- When the roast has been cooking for about an hour, chop each sweet potato, unpeeled, into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll the potatoes in the fat surrounding the meat and cook with the roast for 40 minutes, turning them over after 20 minutes.
- Remove the pork from the oven and let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Do not cover it, or you will jeopardize the brittle, mahogany-colored fat.