Danish Roast Pork (Flæskesteg) with Caramelised potatoes (Brunkartofler)
This is the classic Christmas meal in Denmark.
Servings: 4 people
For the Pork:
- 2 kg loin of pork with the skin on and scored all the way down to just before the flesh in lines 1cm apart (ask the butcher to do this if necessary)
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 400-500 ml boiling water
- few sprigs of thyme
For the Potatoes:
- 85 g sugar
- 25 g butter
- 1kg small new potatoes peeled and cooked, (don’t be afraid to use tinned potatoes for this) - must be COLD
Preheat your oven to 250°C.
Place the pork joint skin side down (yes, ‘upside-down’) into a roasting tray. Add just enough boiling water to the tray so that the skin is submerged.
Put the pork in the oven for 20 minutes.
Use a clean tea towel to hold the pork in the roasting tray so you don’t burn yourself while you carefully pour away the water.
Turn the oven down to 160°C, then flip the pork over so it’s the right way up (skin up), and coat the skin with a generous amount of salt and pepper, making sure you get into the crevices created by the scoring. Be careful of your hands at this point, the pork will be hot! Stick the bay leaves into the crevices as well, then add the carrot, onion and thyme to the roasting tin, and pour 400-500ml fresh, cold water in.
Put the pork back in the oven for about an hour or until it is done. Check about halfway through to see if you need to top up the water if it’s starting to evaporate too much.
Using a meat thermometer, check the temperature of the pork after the hour. It should be somewhere between 68-70°C. Pour out the fatty residue into a bowl to use as stock for the gravy.
Increase the oven temperature back up to 250°C and put the roast pork back in to make the crackling. This can take a good 15 minutes, so use the grill if you want to kickstart the process (but keep a close eye on it, or else you could end up with a burnt crackling).
Remove the roast from the oven and check the temperature again. It should be between 70-75°C. This should mean it isn’t overcooked - pork can be terribly boring if you have to gnaw your way through it.
Let the roast rest uncovered for about 10 minutes. While that’s happening, make the gravy from the fat and stock - use gravy browning if required.
Add the sugar to a cold frying pan and spread it evenly across the bottom. Melt it on a high heat while you stir for about 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium while you add the butter. Turn up the heat to high again.
Put the potatoes in a colander or sieve and run them under a cold tap, then add to the pan. As you can imagine, it’s going to splutter and spit a bit, so be careful.
Get the potatoes covered in caramel and brown them for between 4-6 minutes, turning them carefully. If it looks like they’re getting a bit too dry, add a drop of water (again, take care doing this).
Serve the caramelised potatoes along with normal boiled potatoes - as these are very sweet, they’re more of an extra side dish for the pork rather than a replacement for potatoes altogether.
NOTE: Always use potatoes that are completely cold. If you’re preparing them yourself, peel and cook them the day before. Each potato should be about 3-4cm in size - think salad potatoes. Tinned really is a good option for this dish.
Serve with warm, red cabbage.
Leftovers? Make Pytt-i-Panna.