Cajun Roast Pork

roast pork

roast pork

17th September, 2014

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for over a year, as I cook it on a fairly regular basis. It’s not an authentic Cajun recipe, I made it up, having been inspired by the method my friend Amaia used to roast Chinese flavoured pork a couple of years ago.

pork joint

pork joint

I used a boned leg joint, but other pork joints would be equally good. 

Cajun Roast Pork recipe:

4 – 5 lb pork roasting joint (leg or loin is good)
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
1 heaped teaspoonful of hot smoked pimentón de la vera
1 heaped teaspoonful of Cajun seasoning
a pinch of crushed chillis
1 teaspoon of finely ground sea salt (to rub into the skin)

Cajun seasoning can be made up at home or bought from a supermarket – I use:

1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons hot smoked pimentón
a pinch of crushed aniseed

Mix the garlic, olive oil, pimentón, Cajun seasoning and crushed chillis in a glass or ceramic dish – something big enough for your joint and that will fit into the fridge. Score the pork (a Stanley knife is very good for this), rub the marinade all over the meat, but not on the skin and put the dish with pork into the fridge for 24 hours.

Take the pork out of the fridge several hours before you are going to cook it, so that it can come to room temperature. One hour or so before cooking, make sure the skin is dry and uncontaminated by the marinade. Rub the salt into the skin, especially where you have scored it. Try not to get the salt into the marinade.

garlic and cajun paste

garlic and cajun paste

Turn the oven on full and wait until it is very hot (250º C). Transfer the pork to a baking dish, but reserve the garlic and thicker powder in the marinade for the gravy (it will burn if cooked with the pork). The runnier oil, however, can go in with the pork.

crackle

crackle

Cover the ends where the meat shows with a little aluminium foil – a cocktail stick or two will help to keep it in place. Cook the joint in the hot oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. This stage is where the crackling happens – it is critical and you do need to keep a close eye on it or it will burn! Once the skin has blistered and sounds hard and crunchy (tap it with a fork) you can turn the oven down to 180º C and remove the foil. I recommend waiting for 5 minutes before returning the meat to the oven, so as not to burn the crackling. Once the temperature has dropped a little the crackling will be safe for extended cooking and become increasingly crunchy as it cooks. It is possible to crackle the skin at the end of cooking, under the grill, but at that point the meat will dry out.

N.B. If your joint of meat is sitting higher at one end, crunch up a piece of foil and place it under the low end so it’s level and that the skin is being heated evenly.

Cook the pork for between 25 – 30 minutes per pound. It’s important to cook pork thoroughly, but you can eat it slightly rare. The USDA (United Stated Department of Agriculture) has certified that pork is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 145º F (63º C) + a rest time of 3 minutes. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, prick the meat with a fork or skewer and look to see that the juices run clear. My meat was ready after 2 hours (total cooking time).

Do pour off some of the fat and oil while cooking, to make roast potatoes – they will have a slightly hot and spicy taste.

garlic and gravy

garlic and gravy

While the meat is resting make gravy with some flour, the meat juices, a splash of red wine vinegar and stock. Mix in the garlic paste from the marinade for extra flavour.

cajun gravy

cajun gravy

Do allow the gravy to cook for a few minutes before tasting or serving, since the garlic paste was previously in contact with raw pork.

Serve with seasonal vegetables and a glass of wine. I had some Castillo de Menara (Tempranillo) from Spain.

 

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About Mad Dog

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22 Responses to Cajun Roast Pork

  1. cecilia says:

    Now, that is My kind of meal.. though out here (US) they do not leave the crackling on the roast. misery. even my little slaughter house, they are not set up for it.. (more misery) you are a great cook Mad! ni ni.. c

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia. That’s terrible not being allowed to keep the skin on your own pigs. I suppose they are not set up to scald the skin and burn off the hair. A lot of scrubbing is required. In Spain they even sell the skin from the face to make crackling – I’ve eaten it in bars as a snack. I think they call it pig face, though it just comes in little pieces.
      Do try the pork like this, there’s not much preparation and the gravy tastes amazing 🙂

  2. Conor Bofin says:

    You are killing me over here MD. I am going home to a very healthy Chinese boiled chicken and thai fragrant rice. Delicious but nothing like this.

  3. Michelle says:

    Worth the wait! Looks so delicious. Cecilia is right that it’s rare to find the crackling on in the U.S. But it’s becoming more frequent, at least if you buy from farmers. (Our local abattoirs are slowly, slowly getting better.)

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Michelle. It did make me wonder if farmers can kill their own pigs, as people do in Spain? Though that’s very hard work and probably not something Cecilia would want to do.

  4. My juices are bubbling with anticipation! Like Celie, our French butchers cannot be persuaded to keep the skin on, malheureuseent.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Viv. That really is amazing, since a small number of people still kill pigs on the farm in France and then make the boudin and charcuterie on the same day. I can appreciate all the extra work involved in hair removal and cleaning, but simply removing the skin when it tastes so good is a great shame. All the skin of a pig will turn into crackling, even the ears 😉

  5. Fabulous – as you know, in Spain they don’t often sell you the skin 😦 But oh joy – in England they do! Big Man would love these and I would most definitely make the roast potatoes too!

  6. Tessa says:

    Looks fantastic! I love that Cajun Seasoning mixture!

  7. Wow even at 7:46 in the morning that looks amazing MD! Wonder if I could get the ‘little people’ to eat it….. 😉

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Phil. You’ll have to let me know if they like spicy food, but friends tell me that some children will eat anything if it’s introduced early on… 🙂

  8. This is a new way to prepare a roast, I think the idea of marinating, scoring and salting would produce a fantastic flavor. I don’t even know what crackling is, although I can deduce from other comments, I guess we just don’t have that here in Canada:(

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Barbara. Crackling is the scored and salted pork skin which becomes brittle and crunchy when cooked. I’m sure pork without the skin would similarly taste delicious if marinaded though – the crackling just is a little extra that goes with roast pork 😉

  9. Karen says:

    I’m always so envious of the people who can buy pork with the skin as the cracklings are a real treat. Your pork had to be incredibly delicious…and yes to those potatoes too.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Karen. I’m really surprised that the skin is unavailable in America. I managed to live there for a couple of years and not notice, however, I wasn’t looking to eat British while I was there and there were lots of great new things to try. I suspect (and I hope someone knows) that the Cajuns might kill their pigs and leave the skin on… 😉

  10. milkandbun says:

    Absolutely mouthwatering pork!!! 🙂

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