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Any dish that can be prepared in advance and left to take care of itself appeals to me. You could use any pork roast for this dish. If using a pork rack, ask your butcher to score the skin, trim or ‘French’ the rack and shorten the bones.
Preheat oven to 240˚C. Pat the pork skin dry with a paper towel. Grind the fennel seeds and rub them into the exposed flesh (not the rind) of the pork. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the onion, apple or pear and fennel, if using, in a large roasting dish and top with the bay leaves. Place the pork on top, skin side up. Pour the Verjuice or wine around the pork, avoiding the skin of the pork as it needs to be dry to create crackling. If desired, wrap the exposed bones with tinfoil to prevent browning.
Roast at 240˚C for 25 minutes until the pork skin begins to crackle, taking care it does not burn. Reduce the heat to 160˚C and cook for another 1½ hours. Check occasionally, adding a little water to the dish if it looks like it’s drying out. There should still be quite a lot of liquid at the end so you can spoon the juices over the meat to serve.
Remove the pork from the oven, remove the foil, if using, and stand the rack for about 5 minutes before carving. Slice between the bones to separate into cutlets. Serve on a bed of the cooked onion, apple or pear and fennel from the roasting dish, with the juices spooned over the top.
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