July 5, 2017
Don't you love English pubs on chilly winter Sundays?
Families wandering in from the bluster, dumping coats and scarves and gloves, parking Grandma in the corner and the kids and the Labrador by the fire.
"All potatoes cooked in duck-fat" the disclaimer reads at the bottom of the chalkboard. Pints of real ale, gin and tonics and the perfect Sunday roast.
They know how to do it the Poms, but having inherited the simple delight in a slow roasted joint of meat from our English forefathers and mothers – particularly here in the most English of Barossa settlements, Angaston – we think this family staple is ready for a comeback.
But being the multicultural country we are, nothing beats the subtle flavours of the Italian classic, roast loin of pork with fennel.
While traditionalists can replace the fennel with apple, we like the aniseed sharpness that marries with the pork.
So here it is, the perfect Sunday roast recipe and its ideal wine pairing – Cabernet Shiraz – for slow winter weekends…
Take the pork from the refrigerator at least 30 mins before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Wipe excess moisture with paper towel and discard. If the meat is dry it will caramelise more easily.
Set the oven or weber to 250°C-275°C and heat for 30 minutes until it is really hot.
Rub pork with half of the oil, salt, ground fennel and pepper. Ensure the fennel and salt are rubbed deeply into the score marks. Drizzle with a little more oil.
Place in a pan, preferably on a rack to allow even cooking. Pour 1 cup of water into pan.
Place pork in oven and bake on high heat (250°C) for 30 minutes or until skin is blistering and hollow to tap – this will seal the skin and sets up the crackling. Then Lower temperature to 180°C and bake for 90-110 minutes.
When pork is half way through cooking time, take the potatoes and roll them in chopped rosemary, salt and pepper and the remaining olive oil. Roast in a non-stick baking dish for 30-40 mins in a 220°C oven.
Test pork with meat thermometer. Rare pork is not everyone’s cup of tea so aim for medium at 70°C. Remove from the oven and rest under foil for 20 minutes.
The crackling should be perfect using this method, but if it's still not crisp enough for you, cut the binding strings with a sharp knife and slide under to remove from the pork loin. Bake under the griller on a foil covered plate for 10 minutes. This is also a good time to remove any gelatinous fat from the loin.
Chop fennel bulbs into halves, drizzle with honey and stir fry with butter for 5 minutes or until tender.
Steam green beans for 5 minutes until tender or toss together a simple green salad.
Gravy is optional and can be made with pan juices and wine but we prefer the healthier option of lean meat and the sweet fennel, with perhaps a fruit chutney or seeded mustard.
When you're enjoying a good cut of meat with family or friends, it's worth spending a little time on wine matching.
Where there's fat (and let's face it there has to be a little selvedge for flavour and tenderness) you need “cut” in a wine – refreshing acidity that complements that rich mouth feel by cleansing the palate, tingling the side of the tongue and aiding digestion.
Roasts require red and Cabernet Shiraz is the perfect choice – rich, juicy, textural Shiraz offset by the acidity and tannins of Cabernet, finishing with a long line and length.
Here at Yalumba, we've made Cabernet Shiraz our life's work for more than a century, and as a result we're now the leading exponent of the style.
From the engaging, mouth-filling pleasure of The Scribbler, the time-honoured style of The Signature, (both 100% Barossa fruit), and the elegance and purity of the Eden Valley's FDR1A, to the pure luxury of The Caley (a classic blend of Coonawarra Cabernet and Barossa Shiraz), Yalumba has the style covered at every price point.
A final note to ponder on during the post-roast snooze… the acid structure of Cabernet Shiraz makes it age beautifully, often reaching its perfect drinking window after two decades.
This means it's the most reliable proposition to purchase on the birth of the new son or daughter (or grandson and granddaughter) and open on their 21st – perhaps another occasion for a family roast?