Pork Loin and Crackling with Hassel Back Potatoes

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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4 pounds pork loin, center cut with a thick rind/fat cap, skin intact

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, smashed

8 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Hassel Back Potatoes, recipe follows

Apple Chutney, recipe follows

Hassel Back Potatoes:

 24 small Yukon gold potatoes

 1/4 cup olive oil

 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus salt to season

 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus pepper to season

Apple Chutney:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

 3 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onions, see Cook Note*

 1 tablespoon kosher salt

 2 cups apple cider

 2 cups cider vinegar

 1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup

 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, see Cook's Note**

 1 star anise 


Special equipment:
Potato Masher butcher's twine, a roasting pan and rack
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Score the rind, using long, parallel slits 1/8 to 1/4-inch apart across the width of the loin; be careful to cut only halfway to the flesh (see Cook's Note**). Rub the rind with the salt, ensuring that the salt is rubbed well into the slits. Rub the rind with 1/2 of the olive oil.
  3. Flip the loin over and rub the flesh side with the remaining olive oil. Place the garlic, thyme, and rosemary up against the flesh. Using butcher's twine, tie the herbs to the loin.
  4. Place the loin on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and arrange the potatoes at the bottom of the roasting rack. Reduce the heat to 425 degrees F. Return the roast to the oven to cook for 1 additional hour or until an instant-read thermometer poked into the center of the loin reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let the loin rest for 30 minutes; the internal temperature will continue to rise about 10 degrees F, and the loin will finish cooking while it's resting (see Cook's Note***).
  5. Slice the "crackling" (crunch skin) off in 1 piece and cut into 1/4-inch strips. Slice the pork loin into 1/4-inch slices. Serve the pork loin warm with Cracklings, Hassel Back Potatoes, and Apple Chutney.

Hassel Back Potatoes:

  1. Place a potato in the palm of a wooden spoon. Use a sharp knife to make cuts 3/4 of the way down the width of each potato about 1/8-inch apart. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Place the potatoes in the bottom of a roasting pan, evenly spaced apart. Cook underneath the roast during the last hour of cooking, until fork tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Apple Chutney:

  1. In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 tablespoon of salt and cover. Saute until onions are translucent. Add the apple cider and increase to high heat. Reduce the cider until nearly evaporated. Add the vinegar and 1 cup sugar; stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the apples and star anise. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes. 
  2. Remove the cover and continue to cook until thickened, about 10 minutes; stirring frequently. Add the 1/3 cup of remaining sugar. Remove star anise and mash until smooth. Transfer to a plate to cool. 
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature with pork, chicken, or curried dishes. 

Cook’s Note

*Any sweet yellow or white onion, such as a Maui or Walla Walla, can be used in place of Vidalia onions. **A lemon half can be used to lightly rub the apples to keep them from oxidizing if you are unable to make the sauce right away.**We used a thoroughly sanitized box cutter to score the pork rind, but you can also use a very sharp paring knife. ***Resting meat after the cooking process gives the meat time to redistribute its natural juices and makes it moister.

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