Sunday lunch of fennel roast pork & red cabbage apples
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Roast pork is caramelised comfort food for a family that needs more slow time, not just slow food. I bought a large 2.5 kilo pork loin on the bone. Boned takes less time to cook and you can stuff fennel inside easier. The secret of a good roast pork joint lies in the crackling. Serves 8 good portions and some left over.
Recipe type: Hot Mains
Cuisine: British
Serves: 8-10
  • Pork loin, preferably boned, 2kgprint button transparent
  • two tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsps sea salt, large crystals, plus a generous sprinkling
  • one apple person – cooking if possible but eating apples fine
  • one small or half a large red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 knobs of butter
  • demerara sugar, a sprinkling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C, fan oven, or 250°C regular oven / gas.
  2. Early in the morning of cooking, or the night before, pat the loin dry and score the rind fat with a Stanley knife (by far the best way, or ask the butcher to do it for you). The gashes need to be around 1cm apart and cut down to just where the flesh starts and fat stops. Try not to score the flesh.
  3. Thrust the fennel seeds (bash some up first if you like) and salt well into the slits in the fat, rubbing it in and over the skin. If prepping for later roasting, place the joint in its roasting tin and cover very loosely with foil, but don’t let the foil touch the skin, and place in the fridge.
  4. When ready to cook and when your oven is up to temperature, place the baking tin with the joint on an upper shelf, foil cover removed. Leave to roast for 30-40 minutes at this high temperature until the skin is nicely browned and crisping up. Then, reduce the temperature to 190 degrees C. You can average at 25 minutes per kilo cooking time with pork. Mine took exactly 2 hours at 2.5 kilo. Test pork with a long needle to see if the juices run clear. If ready, remove from the oven, cover with foil loosely (cut off crackling and keep warm, uncovered) and leave to rest for up to 15 minutes before carving. Usually, I carve, the return the slices covered to the switched off oven so they keep warm while I deal with any veg and gravy making.
  5. Apples: these take 1 hour to cook so work back from your pork end cooking time. I popped mine to cook around half way through.Prep apples by washing, drying and coring them. Shred cabbage finely and toss it over the base of an oven-proof dish. Place apples atop the cabbage, stuffing some extra shredded leaves down into the apple centres. Dot with a little butter and sprinkle over some demerara sugar (not much though). Finally, ladle in around 6 tbsps red wine vinegar over the cabbage. Cover tightly with foil and cook alongside the joint for around 1 hr. They will melt down a little but should retain their shape.
  6. Serving and ‘gravy’: I find the roast pork gives enough juice to provide gravy but if you need more liquid, take the roasting tin (pork is resting at this point in another warmed tin), place over a medium heat on the hob, add a glass of red wine and deglaze the pork residue, stirring all the time. Reduce the liquid to a desired consistency or add some Arrowroot dissolved in a little water in order to thicken the gravy.
  7. A tavola! Serve the sliced pork in a warmed roasting tin with the apples and remaining cabbage to its side; gravy decanted and served in a warmed jug. I cooked diced potatoes around the joint, adding them around 45 minutes before the roast was done.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at