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The famous Italian roast pork
• 1 7-9 Ib. loin of pork, on the bone
• 4 tablespoons fennel seeds
• 3 small dried chilies, crumbled
• 3 tablespoons rock salt, crushed
• 4 or 5 bay leaves, torn
• 1 lemon, zested and halved
• olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 sticks of celery, washed and roughly chopped
• 2 carrots, washed and roughly chopped
• 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 bulb of garlic, broken into cloves, unpeeled
• 12 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 2 wineglasses of white wine
• 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Bone and score your loin of pork and place it skin side down on a cutting board. Preheat your oven to its highest setting. Using a pestle and mortar, a coffee grinder, or a metal bowl with a rolling pin, smash up the fennel seeds with the chilies and rock salt until you have a fine powder, then add the torn bay leaves and smash those up too. Mix in the lemon zest. Sprinkle the mixture evenly all over the pork meat, covering it completely.
Roll the belly around the loin and tie it tightly with 5 or 6 pieces of string to keep it all in place. Scatter the bones over the bottom of a snug-fitting appropriately sized roasting pan and put the loin of pork on top. Drizzle a little olive oil over the skin and season with salt, rubbing it into the scores. Place in the preheated oven, close the door, and immediately turn the oven down to 350°F This way you will start the crackling off really hot and fast and the skin will puff up. The reduced temperature will then cook the meat through nice and evenly, keeping it moist at the same time. It will need to roast for about 2 1/2 hours - feel free to leave it for a bit longer if you like. It just means the pork will be a bit drier but it will still be tasty.
When the meat has been cooking for an hour, add the roughly chopped celery, carrots, and onion to the-pan with the broken-up bulb of garlic, the whole rosemary sprigs, and the wine. Give the pan a shake to get some fat onto the veg. When the pork is cooked, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. You'll have some nice roasted root veg and sticky goodness left in the bottom of the pan from which you can make your gravy. Pour off the fat and add a little of your stock, then give the gravy a stir, making sure you get all the lovely sticky brown bits off the bottom of the pan - you may not need to use all the stock. The Italians tend to keep their gravy light and more natural if using any, so this is the consistency you're after. Carve into thin slices with a sharp knife to serve.
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