Christmas in Australia always seems to revolve around birds and crustaceans, but for many parts of the world pork is king for the festive feast.
Did you know that pork is served in most of Latin America, across Scandinavia and in countries like the Philippines, Romania and in parts of India?
This is hardly surprising given the vast range of flavours and cooking styles available for pork which is often a chef’s meat of choice and can certainly hold its own against more traditional Christmas dishes.
To paraphrase Homer Simpson, pork is a wonderful, magical thing.
So here are a collection of simple recipes for you to try during the festive period and help you channel your international gourmand.
Let’s cut right to the chase and start with some tips for nailing your roast pork recipe.
Always make sure the meat is room temperature before you start preparing it. Pat it dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture, and after cooking always let it rest before carving and serving.
British roast loin
Starting simple and classic, we have the good old roast loin of pork like Grandma used to make. Start by chopping two onions in half and placing across the bottom of your roasting tray. This will help infuse flavour and also create a barrier between the meat and the bottom of the pan. Rub the skin with pepper and oil. Cook for approximately 1.5 hours at 220C, then leave to rest on a wooden board. Use the onion and meat drippings as the basis of your gravy.
This stuffed and rolled pork dish is celebratory and elevates the traditional roast pork. Classic Italian flavours such as a mix of fennel, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest are ground together then rubbed on to the inside of a boneless piece of shoulder. Roll up tightly and secure with string before roasting for 3-4 hours at 150C until golden and juicy. Crank the heat up at the end if you want crispy skin (you do).
Also known as pork scratchings, these are about the tastiest bite-sized snack around and the perfect accompaniment to a pre-dinner beer. Dead easy to make, slice strips of pork belly then score across the top before rubbing salt in. Place in a hot fry pan, then add ½ cup water. Cover with lid, then cook for 15 minutes occasionally flipping the pan. Remove the lid and allow the water to evaporate—you will be left with a layer of pork fat that has come out of the belly. Turn the heat down, and cook over a low heat until crispy but tender and the fat has fully rendered.
Asian crispy pork belly
If you’re looking for an Asian twist on pork belly, try rubbing garlic, soy sauce, salt and Chinese five spice into the scored skin of your pork belly. Marinate for a few hours, then roast at 220C for 50 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so before carving and serve with Asian greens and rice.
Love this roast pork recipe? Check out our guide to roasting the perfect Christmas turkey.
Image credit: Food52