Pork pairs beautifully with herbs and fennel seeds and produces meltingly tender meat when slow-cooked. If you don’t have cider, use white wine instead.
1.5-kilogram piece pork scotch fillet, skin removed
sea salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 medium waxy potatoes, halved if large
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
150 grams streaky bacon, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped sage
3 big sprigs thyme
8 whole cloves garlic, skin left on
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
500ml pear or apple cider
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
To serve (optional)
cress or rocket
Preheat the oven to 150°C fan bake.
Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Roll up the fillet and tie with kitchen string at 4cm intervals to secure.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and brown the pork on all sides. Transfer to a large roasting dish along with the potatoes. Don’t wash the pan.
Add the onions, bacon, sage, thyme, garlic and fennel seeds to the sauté pan and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard then add the cider, letting it come to the boil. Season then pour the contents of the pan over the pork in the roasting dish, spreading it evenly.
Cover the dish with a piece of baking paper then with foil to seal tightly.
Cook for 1 hour then uncover and continue cooking for a further hour, or until the pork is tender when pierced with a skewer and the juices run clear.
To finish: Transfer the pork to a large plate. Cover with a piece of foil to keep warm and rest for 10 minutes. Stir the crème fraîche into the pan juices and place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
To serve: Remove the string and slice the pork. Spoon over the onions and potatoes along with lots of the pan juices. Serve with cress or rocket and crusty bread, if desired.