Roast pork leg joint (Arrosto di maiale)
It's the ideal choice for a relaxed Sunday lunch and it's not difficult to prepare. Buy a good piece of meat, possibly organic and then enjoy the experience! Sometimes I like to preapare the roast joint before a picnic with the family; few slices in a bread roll and basted with the gravy, will make the picninc a real treat!
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- 1 Kilograms (2.2 lb) Pork leg joint
- 4 Sprigs of rosemary (1 big and 3 small)
- 5-6 Sage leaves
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 5 grams (1 tbs) Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 grams (1/2 oz) Coarse salt
- 1 Carrot
- Half glass of extra virgin olive oil
- Take some needles from the big rosemary sprig, enough to have a handful, and put them onto the chopping board.
- Add the sage leaves.
- Chop them together (finely).
- Put them into a mortar (alternatively a blender would do the job).
- Add the black pepper to the mortar.
- Add the coarse salt.
- Add the garlic, whole or chopped it is up to you.
- Now, use the pestle to work in the mixture. Keep going until you have a very fine mix.
- Take a sharp knife and cut under the fat layer so that you can lift it. Leave one side of the fat layer connected to the meat.
- Then, do some cuts around the leg joint, about 3 cm (1 1/4") deep, as if you are making small pockets.
- Fill the pockets with the mixture you have prepared.
- In my case, I have managed to do 8 cuts on the top and a couple of cuts on each side.
- With the remaining mixture, sprinkle the piece of meat…
- …and gently rub all around.
- Cover the meat with its original fat layer.
- Tie the joint again with its original elastic strings. If you buy the pork leg joint, usually it comes with these elastic strings or a net. If you do not have either of them, tie using normal string suitable for cooking.
- Put some olive oil you have in the glass in the oven tray and slice the carrot making 5 mm (3/16") thick discs. Use the discs to make a carrot bed.
- Add the joint and pour the rest of the olive oil over.
- Put the tray into the oven at 180ºC (355ºF) and cook the leg joint for about 1 1/2 hours. At about half time, baste the joint with the gravy formed in the bottom of the oven tray.
- This is the final result. Note the lovely gravy that has formed in the bottom of the tray; do not waste it – it's all good!
- Slice the joint and place the slices on a plate. Can you see the cuts I have done before? You can still see the mixture I've put in the pockets (if you want this effect, the cuts have to be squared to the direction of the slicing).
- Baste the slices with the gravy.
- This photograph shows the slices accompanied with stir fried pachoi and some of the carrot from the tray.
- Alternatively, you can accompany this dish with roast potatoes and sweetcorns or Italian polenta.
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