Weekend Herald - Canvas - - ANNABEL LANGBEIN -

Ready in 2½ hrs Serves 6-8

1 whole pork rack (ap­prox 2.5kg), skin scored finely 1 tsp fen­nel seeds Salt and ground black pep­per, to taste 2 red onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges 2 ap­ples or pears, cored and sliced into thin wedges 1 head fen­nel, thinly sliced (op­tional) 4-5 bay leaves 2 cups white wine or ver­juice Pre­heat oven to 240C fan­bake. Pat the pork skin dry with a pa­per towel. Grind the fen­nel seeds and rub them into the ex­posed flesh (not the rind) of the pork. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. Place the onion, ap­ple or pear and fen­nel, if us­ing, in a large roast­ing dish and top with the bay leaves. Place the pork on top, skin-side up. Pour the wine or ver­juice around the pork, avoid­ing the skin of the pork as it needs to be dry to cre­ate crack­ling. If de­sired, wrap the ex­posed bones with tin­foil to pre­vent brown­ing. Roast at 240C for 25 min­utes un­til the pork skin be­gins to crackle, tak­ing care it does not burn. Re­duce the heat to 160C and cook for another 1½ hours. Check oc­ca­sion­ally, adding a lit­tle water to the dish if it looks like it’s dry­ing out. There should still be quite a lot of liq­uid at the end so you can spoon the juices over the meat to serve. Re­move the pork from the oven, re­move the foil, if us­ing, and stand for about 5 min­utes be­fore carv­ing. Slice be­tween the bones to sep­a­rate into cut­lets. Serve on a bed of po­lenta or mashed potato and the cooked onion, ap­ple or pear and fen­nel from the roast­ing dish, with the juices spooned on top.

Annabel says: When I see a recipe with an en­cy­clo­pe­dic list of in­gre­di­ents and a method with lots of steps, I switch off. The re­sults might be amaz­ing but it’s not for me. A dish like this that can be pre­pared in ad­vance ap­peals. I like to serve it with creamy po­lenta or mashed potato to soak up the juices, and braised red cab­bage.

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