What else is there to say about crackling that hasn’t already been said?
Well, I will say that the Bavarians can definitely claim their spot in the champions league of crackling. A solid game plan based on cold steins of beer, paired with a incessant drive for the most satisfying crunch, gives them a clear advantage over any rivals.
Has German efficiency ever been deployed to a more worthwhile cause? Nah, probably not.
See below for an (almost) as efficient recipe for pork & crackling with a white asparagus risotto, pickled and charred cucumber, shiso oil, and pork fat honey mustard.
As for the tunes, May has been a bountiful month, with Spring serenading us with album release after album release, all of the highest quality.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to sample Sigrid’s How To Let Go or Knucks’ Alpha Place, do so immediately. See below two highlights from their respective albums.
Shopping list (serves 6)
Pork shoulder joint (rolled, bones removed) x 500g
Honey x 1 tbsp
Wholegrain mustard x 1 tbsp
White asparagus x 800g
Arborio rice x 350g
White onion (finely diced) x 1
Garlic cloves (minced) x 5
Bay leaves x 2
Chicken stock x 1.5L
Unsalted butter x 50g
Neutral oil x 150ml
Shiso leaves x 10
Large cucumber (cut into thick rectangles) x 1
Water x 150ml
White wine vinegar x 150ml
Sugar x 1 tsp
Salt x 1 tsp
Shiso leaves to serve
Start the day before and salt the skin of the pork joint generously, and leave in the fridge overnight.
For the oil, simply blend together the shiso leaves and oil. Leave overnight before passing it through a sieve and muslin cloth, into a clean vessel. Store in the fridge until needed.
For the cucumber, roughly peel before chopping. Bring the water and vinegar up to the boil, add the sugar and salt. Mix well, before leaving to cool to room temperature. In an airtight container, cover the cucumber pieces with the liquid. Leave overnight as well.
When the time comes, remove the pork from the fridge, and wash off the salt with cold water. Pat dry, and place in a small roasting tray. If you asked the butcher for the bones to be taken out, chuck them in the tray as well.
Set your oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C.
Place the pork uncovered into the hot oven, and turn the temp down to 160°C (fan)/180°C. Cook for 80 minutes.
In the meantime, you can get the risotto sorted. In a large pan, simply fry off the onion in a glug of oil and a knob of butter, over a medium heat for 15 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and arborio rice, keeping the heat low. Stir often and cook for another 10 minutes. Season well.
In a saucepan, boil the asparagus in the chicken stock with the bay leaves, for 10 minutes. Remove the stalks from the water and blend to a smooth purée with the 50g of butter.
Ladle the chicken stock/asparagus water gradually into the pan, stirring constantly, until you have a creamy consistency. Season well and stir through the asparagus purée. Dial the heat right down, and turn your attention to the pork.
Remove the joint from the oven and roasting tray, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. In the same roasting tray, simply add the mustard and honey, and mix well. Decant this outrageously delicious concoction into a small jar or dish.
At the same time, in a dry frying pan, fry the pieces of pickled cucumber over a very high heat until starting to blacken.
Serve chunks of pork & crackling on top of the risotto, along with the cucumber, shiso oil and a good spoonful of the pork fat honey mustard.