Pork leg roasts are one of the easiest things to pull off on a grill or smoker, with little required in terms of faffing about. Last night, in the torrential monsoon rain of Singapore, I ventured out on the deck and cooked us up some tasty fennel crusted pork leg with “wintery veg”, apples and a tasty gravy to help get the damp chill out of the air. Now for context, it was still 80 degrees outside but when it rains for days on end, it seems somewhat cooler than the normally sunny and humid days we get living on the equator! We needed some comfort food last night.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 x 1.5 kg boneless pork leg roast
- a few good glugs of olive oil (for coating the roast and the vegetables)
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 Teaspoons fennel seeds
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally
- 6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- 1 head of garlic, paper removed
- 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
- A pinch of dried oregano, thyme and parsley for the veg
- 3 green apples, cored and sliced thick
For the gravy, you’ll need:
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 3/4 cup of any half decent prosecco
- 2.5 Tablespoons of plain white flour
Here’s how to pull it all off:
Set up your grill for indirect heat, and settle the temperature down at about 425 F. Just before you’re ready to put your roast on, throw on a small handful of cherry wood chips for a bit of smoky flavour and colour. Drizzle your roast with olive oil then season with Kosher salt, fennel seeds and cracked fresh peppercorn. Place your roast into a v-rack and a drip pan and place it on the grid. Make sure you’ve got your thermometer inserted and set for your internal temperature of 165 F. Now set your timer for 40 minutes at which point the roast looks golden brown and starts to crackle.
At the end of the first 40 minutes, remove the v-rack carefully (cuz it’s hot) and add your vegetables (but not the apples). Before you add them, make sure you’ve coated the veggies in olive oil and seasoned them with a bit of Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sprinkle on the other herbs which can included oregano, thyme and parsley. Add the v-rack back onto the drip pan and close the lid of the grill. Reduce the temperature just a bit to a steady 400 degrees for another 40 minutes.
Once the second 40 minutes are done, add the apples and mix up the vegetables so they don’t stick to the bottom of your drip pan. Now simply wait for your roast to come up to 165 degrees F. Then simply remove the pan with the rack and carefully set it down on a surface that won’t burn. Loosely cover your pork leg with aluminium foil as well as the vegetables. Let the pork rest for ten minutes and while that’s happening you can prep the final touch…
Now for the gravy! Remove the veg from the drip pan and then very carefully drain the drippings from the pan into a skillet that you’ve got on the burner over medium/high heat. Now add your flour and and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Little by little add your stock and prosecco (which you can pre-mix) and stir gently until the mixture thickens. I had a bit of stock and prosecco left over so don’t feel like you need to use it all, just keep adding and stirring the gravy until it gets nicely voluminous and thickens well.
Once done, your pork has rested, your vegetables have settled down to a temperature that you can actually eat without burning the roof of your mouth and your gravy is thick and piping hot. Now simply carve up your pork into thin slices and make sure there’s a wonderful piece of crackling for each piece. Admittedly, that’s my favorite part of the dish…the crackling! And, if I could only rate that, it’s got to be an 11, despite the colesterol warnings I get from my GP!
The fennel added a really wonderful flavour to the crackling and the veg along with the apples were delicious! The gravy was also a killer addition to the whole meal. I lost overall Heather rating points simply because of the quality of the raw roast. And here’s a good lesson…you can cook an amazing meal but if your meat quality is sub-standard, you’ll get an ok meal instead of a legendary one. This roast was an impulse buy at the local grocery store and it was very high in fat content. I didn’t mind it too much but Heather’s not a huge fan, texturally. Great meal, but a bit on the fatty side.
We’ll definitely do this recipe again but I’ll go to the local wet market butcher and get a fresh pork leg to work with next time! Special thanks to my little helper Kalyna…you’ll make a great chef one day darling!
Overall Heather Rating: 7.5/10