Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas roast leg of pork

The star of our Christmas luncheon this year: star anise!
Special large cuts of meat are a high point of Christmas. There's the choice of leg of lamb or turkey, usually imported. This year, in keeping of my "eat local" theme, it was not hard to achieve consensus around a leg of pork for the Christmas day luncheon. Through my association with the San Antonio Green Market (see, I knew where I could find fresh lean pork. All I had to do was thaw the leg of pork overnight. Season at six in the morning; no need for overnight marinating since this pork slow cooks for six hours. And it's perfect by the time you are ready for lunch at one or two in the afternoon. A ten pound leg will serve 12 to 20 persons, and you will still have nice bits leftover for a noodle one pot.

Pork leg, eight to ten pounds
Ginger, large thumb sized piece, finely chopped
Garlic, four or five cloves chopped
Star anise, small handful, pounded in the mortar
Brown sugar, two to three heaping tablespoons
Salt, teaspoon or less
Soy sauce (light preferred) four or five tablespoons

Pork dishes love star anise,
the perfect fragrant warming spice for roasted or stewed pork!

To prepare the leg, use a small sharp knife to separate the skin from the meat (cutting through the layer of fat) as near to the hock end as possible, but it's not necessary to cut it completely off. Set the leg in a large baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix all the seasonings together. Fold back the skin and pack the seasonings on top the leg. Cover back with the skin. Cover the entire dish with foil. Bake for five and a half to six hours at 325 degrees F (165 Celsius). After baking for five and a half hours, remove the foil; and broil at 400 degrees (200 Celsius) for half an hour. Baste with pan juices.

Remove the meat from the heat, and pour off the pan juices. Skim the fat off the top, and heat juices on stovetop for half an hour to concentrate. Serve on the side when the pork is sliced. Remove the skin and  set aside before slicing the pork

The predominant flavour is the star anise, which is warming and fragrant and sweet. It's the perfect meat for a festive meal in cooler weather!

Lightly browned leg of pork seasoned with star anise and slow cooked.
Now you can cut back the skin, slice and serve with the pan juices.

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