Monday, August 29, 2011

Cider Pork Roast

It was about this time in 2009 that Mrs Velkyal and I made our first attempt at making cider. I say "first" although in reality to date it is our only attempt at cider making, but it most certainly will not be the last. One thing we will remember to do next time is to prime the cider at bottling. I know there is a school of opinion out there that likes still cider, but I am most assuredly not a member of that particular persuasion. I like a little sparkle, not fizzy, but gently carbonated, the French would call it "pétillant", the Czechs have the wonderful phrase "jemně perlivá". My maple mead is lightly carbonated, and at nearly 10% abv all the better for it, but the cider is flat.

We have toyed with idea of what to do with the remaining couple of gallons of cider and not done anything with it other than leave it in the cellar, a quick note for my American friends and readers, cider with no alcohol is not cider, it is apple juice, thus the term "hard cider" is pointless. Suggestions have included making cider vinegar and then using it in chutneys and the like, Mrs V and I both love to cook, so it would be nice not to have to buy vinegar in chutney making season. It was in one of my cooking moods that I decided to make a stab at using a bottle up, with my Sunday roast.

Growing up, almost every Sunday had as the heart of the day a roast dinner. Most often chicken, but also beef, lamb, pork and occasionally venison or mutton. Whatever we had was served with at least roast potatoes, veggies and onion gravy. Yesterday I cooked a roast pork lunch, served with roast potatoes, braised leeks and onion gravy, and to top it all, it was the first time I had made that most delectable of foods, crackling.

Usually the leeks are braised in white wine, but I ditched that (well alright then I didn't have any white wine) and used cider. The rest of my bottle went into the onion gravy to give it a nice tart apple bite to balance the sweetness of the caramelised onions, I roasted the pork on top of the sliced onions, to the pork fat, as well as keeping the meat moist, also cooked the onions.

To make the gravy, I chucked the onions and juices from the roasting dish into a saucepan, added some flour for thickening and then poured in good half pint of cider with a quarter pint of water from boiling the potatoes and let it boil away to reduce. Eventually Mrs V and I had plates looking like this:

Paired with this delight of pork and veggies was a high ball glass of 7 UP with a liberal dose of brandy in the top - lately I've been on something of a spirits and soft drinks kick, which is most disturbing, though thankfully the sanctity of my single malts is still intact.

A minor diversion from beer, to be sure, but a tasty one I can assure you - and yes, the crackling crackled and was cracking.

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