To me, this Donna Hay dish makes for a perfect Christmas eve dinner. It is an elegant, simple to prepare, delicious dinner that exudes the holiday spirit by way of crispy, crunchy, salty pork crackling and an incredible port and honey glaze. With a glass of red this wonderful pork dish definitely got me into the holiday spirit.
Alongside the perfectly cooked pork are golden roasted sweet potato wedges that are almost burnished thanks to their simple glaze of olive oil, honey and thyme. Potatoes, in my house, are usually a star side dish served on Christmas day so opting for their sweet cousins Christmas Eve is a sure fire way not to spoil your potato appetite for the big day.
The port and honey glaze, in my opinion, makes this dish (well it rivals the crackling anyway). The port echoes all things Christmas and the honey provides just enough sweetness to marry perfectly with the salty pork. Once drizzled over the pork the sweet sticky glaze clings to the flesh and permeates its delicious flavour in every bite. There is only one final flourish that makes this glaze sing an even more festive tune and that’s the addition of wonderful blue cheese.
The blue cheese adds a mellow warm depth of tangy flavour to the dish. It somehow brings together the salty tender pork and sweet port and honey glaze, fusing them creating an incredible depth of flavour. The blue cheese also adds a sense, not only of sophistication to the dish making it perfect for a Christmas eve dinner party but it creates an air of specialness also, it reminds you that this isn’t something you eat every day.
With the frantic pace of the Christmas season this dinner’s simplicity becomes a complete life saver, I mean the oven does most of the work in preparing this dinner which frees you up for the more important matters at hand, drinking wine, wrapping presents, relaxing after a long day of shopping etc. And after all of your hard work in the kitchen you are rewarding with a fabulous dinner (and pork crackling) to share with your family and friends. Enjoy, K x
Roasted Pork Loin with Stilton and Port & Honey Glaze
Adapted from Donna Hay, Fast Fresh and Simple
1 kg rack of pork loin, skin scored 1cm intervals (ask your friendly butcher to do this)
sea salt and black pepper
12 sprigs of thyme
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
150 g stilton cheese, thickly sliced
For the port and honey glaze:
250 ml port
60 ml beef stock
2 tbsp honey
Wilted spinach, to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 220°c. Rub the pork skin with sea salt and sprinkle with half of the thyme leaves. Place pork in a baking dish. Add sweet potato to the pan and drizzle with olive oil, honey, remaining thyme and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180°C and cook for a further 30 minutes. If you are having trouble creating the pork crackling, remove the sweet potato from the oven tray, turn on the grill to 200°C and place the pork under the grill (approximately 5 cm between pork and grill) and grill for 5 minutes or until your crackling is crunchy. DO NOT walk away from the oven, keep a close eye on the pork as you do not want the crackling to burn.
While the pork is roasting, make the port and honey glaze. Place the port, stock and honey in a saucepan over medium heat and allow mixture to simmer for 12–15 minutes or until glaze is reduced and syrupy.
To serve, slice the pork and place on serving plates with the sweet potato and wilted spinach. Top the pork with the stilton and spoon over the port and honey glaze. Serves 4.