May 21 2007

Salted Roast Pork Ribs with Mustard Parsnip Cream.

Serves 6:
1x 6-8 bone ‘French trimmed’ loin of pork, (see notes).
Salt and pepper, plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling.
Cooking oil
1 Tbsp clear honey.
1 Teaspoon picked fresh thyme, saving the stalks.
Juice of ½ lemon.
300ml (½ pint) Chicken stock, tinned consommé or water.
25g (1oz) butter.

For the parsnip cream:
1.3kg (3ib) Parsnips.
Milk to cover (approximately 450-600ml / ¾-1pint).
Knob of butter
1 tablespoon Dijon or wholegrain mustard.

Preheat the oven to 230°C / 450°F / Gas mark 8. Score the skin of the pork with a sharp knife in a line between each bone. Season the underside and meat ends of the pork with salt and pepper. Brush the skin with cooking oil, then sprinkle with table and coarse sea salt. Place the joint in a roasting tray, sitting on its arched bones, skin side up. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes at the high temperature to begin the crisping of the skin. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C / 400°F / Gas mark 6 and continue roasting, basting from time to time, for a further 50-60 minutes.

During this time, the skin will have crisped to a salted crackling finish. Remove the joint from the pan and keep warm to one side, allowing to rest for a good 15 minutes.

Pour away any excess fat from the roasting tray and place it on a medium heat. As the residue begins to bubble and crackle, add the honey and thyme stalks. The honey will melt instantly and begin to sizzle within a minute or two. When it begins to caramelise, add the lemon juice, which will begin to split, lifting all the flavours. Add the stock, consommé or water and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for a few minutes seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the butter. A teaspoon of flour can be added to the 25g (1oz) of butter. This will immediately thicken the liquor. Cook for a few minutes to finish the gravy,then strain through a fine sieve. Add the fresh thyme leaves just before serving.

While the pork is resting, make the parsnip cream. Peel the parsnips, splitting each lengthwise into quarters and cutting away the core. Cut the strips into rough dice. Place the diced parsnips in a saucepan and add enough milk to cover. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on top and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the parsnips are completely tender. Using a slotted spoon, place some of the cooked dice into a liquidizer and blitz to a smooth puree, adding some of the milk if needed. As the parsnips begin to cream, more parsnips can be added. This may have to be done in two batches. If slightly grainy, you may want to pass it through a sieve. Once all of the puree has been made, keep to one side, ready to rewarm when needed. When reheating the knob of butter and mustard can be added and the seasoning checked.

To carve the pork, simply separate the portions by carving between each rib. An alternative is first to cut away the crackling. This can now be broken into pieces ready to serve with the craved pork. Serve the craved pork on warm plates with a spoonful of the parsnip cream and a drizzle or two of the thyme flavoured gravy.

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