A Summer Roast

It’s June and it’s 11 oC here in the Highlands.  Perfect running weather and perfect roast dinner weather.  Perhaps if you live warmer climes, the thought of turning on the oven in the month of June makes you shudder.  Does it, sun-dwellers?  Does it?

If it does, then read no further.  Come back to this post when the temperatures dip and you are once more able to face turning that dial up.  But do come back because this is a wee cracker of a meal.  The flavours are light and summery and the meat is moist with a layer of crisp crackling.  It’s the potatoes who are the star of the show though.  As the lemons break down and the pork  begins to release its juices, the new potatoes soak up all that flavour and become slightly gooey and caramelised on the outside.

Best served in a sunny conservatory with a glass of white wine and thoughts of warmer days.

Roast Pork and New Potatoes with Lemon and Thyme

(serves 4, with leftovers for sandwiches)

1.25  kg rolled loin of pork (boneless), skin scored

Salt and pepper

500g new potatoes (I’m guessing the weight here!  It was about 4 passion-fruit-sized potatoes each) scrubbed and halved

2 lemons, cut into 12 slices

1 tblspn fresh thyme leaves (half that if using dried)

Olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 220 oC.
  • Use a mortar and pestle to bash up the thyme leaves with a generous few pinches of salt and pepper.  Rub a third of this  mixture into the skin of the pork.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and sear the joint on each side for a minute or two until golden.  Place in a roasting tin and set aside.
  • Add the potatoes to some cold salted water.  Bring to the boil then drain immediately.
  • Add the potatoes, lemon, thyme mixture and a glug of olive oil to a bowl and combine well using your hands.  Scatter the potatoes around the pork joint.
  • Roast in the oven for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 200 oC.  Roast for a further 1 hour and 10 minutes, making sure you turn the potatoes every so often.  Check the meat is cooked through by either ensuring the juices run clear or inserting a meat thermometer (I use the latter technique – it’s less fiddly than removing the meat to a plate).
  • Remove from oven.  While you let the pork rest for 10 minutes before carving, pick out the lemon rinds from the potatoes and use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the fat to a warmed dish.
  • Serve the carved meat with the potatoes, lots of steamed green veg and a dollop of grain mustard.