Brining is an old method which results in succulent, flavoursome meat – it is particularly good for pork.
8 bone rack of pork, chined, skin removed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
6 juniper berries, lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, sliced
few sprigs of thyme
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sea salt
5 cups of water
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
8 sage leaves
1 tablespoon rosemary
1⁄2 cup water
3 apples, e.g. Braeburn 3 red onions 1 tablespoon oil 20 grams butter
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice 8 whole cloves garlic, peeled 2 bay leaves
Combine all the brine ingredients except the water in a bowl. Bring one cup of water to the boil and add to the bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the remaining water and allow the brine to cool completely. Put the pork in a non-reactive container deep enough for it to stand upright. Add the brine – the bones do not need to be covered. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove the pork from the brine, brushing off the aromatics, and dry well with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 200oC.
Put the garlic and salt on a cutting board and chop together. Add the sage leaves and rosemary and continue chopping until you have a coarse herb salt mixture. Rub the pork with a little oil and rub the herb salt all over the meat, pressing it on well. Put the pork in a roasting dish and add the water. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 180oC and continue cooking for about another 11⁄2 hours. The juices should run clear when a skewer is inserted. Add more water to the pan if it dries out. Remove the pork to a dish and rest, lightly covered for 15-20 minutes.
Apple Sauce: Cut each of the apples into 8 wedges and remove the core. Peel the onions and cut through the root end into 8 wedges. Heat the oil and butter in an oven-proof sauté pan. Add the apples, onions, allspice, garlic cloves and the bay leaves. Season well and cook over a high heat until lightly coloured,
3-4 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, turning a couple of times, until tender but not falling apart. Set aside until ready to use.
To serve: Carve the pork into individual chops and arrange on a serving platter with the apple sauce alongside.
To chine: The chine refers to the backbone of an animal. It is removed from the rib bones in cuts such as rack of lamb, or pork so the ribs can be sliced easily before or after cooking, without the need for a cleaver.