THE MORE THE MERRIER
This Christmas, cook up a showstopper (or two) with succulent and versatile South African pork.
BREAD WREATH WITH HAM, BACON AND MUSTARD
Makes one 30cm wreath Preparation time: 20 minutes for rolling and folding, plus resting time Baking time: 30 minutes Oven temperature: 180°C
• 250g streaky bacon, chopped • about 1kg risen bread dough (homemade or store-bought) • about 45ml Dijonnaise or your favourite mustard • about 12 slices smoked ham • 12 slices mozzarella
Fry the bacon in a pan until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy. Cool.
2 Add the crispy bacon (and fat, if desired) to the dough and fold it in, using your hands; this step also knocks down the dough. It may be a bit difficult to knead in the bacon, so use a folding action to spread the bacon and to form flavoursome layers in the dough.
3 Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a large rectangle. Use a palette knife to lift the dough up from the worktop. Roll out again if the dough shrinks too much, making sure it doesn’t stick.
4 Spread the Dijonnaise over the dough. Using a large round cutter, cut the dough into circles about 12cm in diameter. Working with one circle at a time, place a slice of ham followed by a slice of cheese on the dough and fold it into a half-moon shape over the filling. Bring the two ends of the half-moon together and place this with the open side up against the edge of a greased ring pan or on a baking tray that’s well greased with non-stick spray. Repeat with all the dough circles and arrange the folded dough snugly in a circle to form a wreath. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and allow to rise until it has doubled in volume.
5 Preheat the oven. Bake the loaf wreath for about 30 minutes or until cooked and risen. Serve hot or at room temperature.
The smoky flavour of the crispy bacon combined with creamy mozzarella and thinly-sliced ham makes this loaf a festive crowd-pleaser!
RIB-EYE PORK ROAST WITH CRISPY CRACKLING
The secret to a delicious rib-eye cut from the pork shoulder is to cook it low and slow. Serves a crowd if you carve thin slices • Preparation time: 30 minutes • Cooking time: about 5 hours • Oven temperature: 220°C and 160°
• 3kg deboned rib-eye pork roast, skin on, at room temperature • 15ml sea salt flakes • a pinch each of coriander, fennel, cumin and cayenne pepper • 250ml ginger beer • 30ml balsamic vinegar • 1 onion, sliced FILLING • 1 ciabatta roll, crumbed • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped • 15ml olive oil • 500g fresh sage-flavoured pork bangers, casings removed • 30ml dried cranberries
1 Preheat the grill. Prepare the filling by mixing the breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and oil; roast under the grill until the breadcrumbs are crunchy. Mix with the pork banger meat and cranberries. Reduce the oven temperature to 220°C.
2 Place the pork roast on your work surface, fat side down, and butterfly the meat slightly. Season with salt and pepper then spread the filling over the entire surface in an even layer. Wrap the meat carefully over the filling to form a neat roll and place it in an ovenproof dish, fat side up.
3 Using a sharp craft knife, score the skin in a diamond pattern or make lines (we made a festive star shape). Pat dry with kitchen towel and rub the skin with the salt and spices. Roast for about 30 minutes at 220°C to get the crackling going.
4 Turn the temperature down to 160°C, add the ginger beer, vinegar and onion, and cover the dish with a double layer of foil. Roast for 4–5 hours until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and succulent. Be aware that the balsamic vinegar will make the crackling darker.
5 Check whether the crackling is crispy enough; if not, place under the grill to add crunch. Place the meat on a pretty serving platter; roasted carrots, sweet potato and apple rings add the final flourish to this tasty dish. Skim off the fat from the pan juices and serve this delicious gravy with the meal.
1 Check out the video on homemag.co.za.
Be patient with the amount of time it takes to cook – it’s worth the wait!