This is a no-fail recipe! Without spending hours in the kitchen when you want to be with your guests, you will have a very tasty, festive-looking dish to share. Added bonus is that it all cooks in one pan.
In France pork is roasted without the skin. The French cook takes home a neatly tied-up joint with just a thin layer of fat on top to keep it moist. To those who feel that crackling is the main reason for cooking a pork joint, this will doubtless seem perverse. But the skin is prized for other culinary uses - usually to enrich, with its gelatinous qualities as well as its flavour, daubes and other stews, and especially dishes in which the meat is served cold accompanied by the jellied cooking broth. The layer of fat just below the skin is used for barding lean meat to keep it moist during cooking, laid across the top of pâtés and terrines to stop them from getting dry, or layered with potatoes as in the Burgundian crapaudine. The butcher usually removes the bones from the joint and these can be thriftily added to a stock. Thus the most is extracted from a loin of pork.
FOR 8 PEOPLE
2 kg (aprox 4 lb) joint of loin of pork, (pork roast) boned, and the rind removed in one piece, not scored as for crackling,a thin layer of fat remaining on the joint salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 g (1 lb) ripe tomatoes
250 g (8 oz) onions 1 - 1.5 kg (2 - 3 lb) potatoes
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F, 180°C.
Allow 30 minutes per half kilo (1 lb) for a joint weighing up to 2 kg (4 lb), add 20 minutes per half kilo (1 lb) for every half kilo (1 lb) over this weight. Tie the pork up in a neat shape, if the butcher has not already done this, and rub all over with salt and pepper. Put the joint on a rack in the roasting pan and bake in the preheated oven for the appropriate time.
Skin the tomatoes and cut them up roughly. Peel the onions and chop them roughly. Peel the potatoes if you like. If not, just wash them. Large potatoes should be cut up, small ones left whole. An hour before the joint is cooked, add the potatoes to the pan and let them cook in the fat from the joint. About half an hour before serving, add the onions and tomatoes to the pan. If the pork has given off a lot of fat, it is worth at this stage, that is just before adding the onions and tomatoes, spooning some of it off into a bowl to be used at another time to fry potatoes or croûtons.
Slice the joint - easily done since it has been boned - and arrange on a dish with the potatoes,tomatoes, onions and all the cooking juices.
Warning - you may find people sneaking bits before it gets to the table!