- For the pork:
- 165g soft prunes
- 150ml brandy
- tbsp sunfower oil
- 2 small onions, peeled and fnely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g free-range pork sausage meat
- 25g parsley, leaves finely chopped
- 10g thyme, leaves only
- 2kg boneless free-range pork loin, skin on, butterflied for stuffing and the skin scored (ask your butcher to do this)
- 1tsp sea salt
- For the parsnip gratin:
- 1tsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, peeled, halved andthinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 200ml chicken, pork or vegetable stock
- 200ml double cream5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
- 800g parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
- 25g butter, cut into small cubes
Put the prunes and the brandy in a small bowl and leave to soak for 2 hours or leave overnight. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from the heat. Roughly chop the prunes then stir into the onion mixture along with the sausage meat and herbs, and season well.
Lay the pork skin-side down on a work surface, put the stuffing in the middle and roll to create an even cylinder, securing tightly with butcher’s string at 3cm intervals. Set aside uncovered in the fridge overnight to marinate. Leaving it uncovered will help the skin dry out and give better crackling.
Heat the oven to 240C, gas 9. Remove the pork from the fridge, transfer to a roasting tin and set aside to come to room temperature. Rub the salt into the skin of the pork and cook for 30 minutes or until the crackling has started to “pop”. Turn down the oven to 170C, gas 3 and roast for a further 2-2½ hours. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
For the parsnip gratin, heat the oil in a heavy-based sauté pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the stock and cream, and heat through but don’t allow to boil. Add the thyme leaves and season well. Layer half the parsnips in the gratin dish and pour over half the cream mixture, then top with the remaining parsnip slices and the cream mixture. Dot with the butter and roast with the pork for 1 hour at 170C, gas 3,or until cooked through and browned.
You'll need an extra pair of hands to help you roll and tie the pork.