In Sweden, roast pork with sweet and sour braised red cabbage or rodkal is a traditional Christmas feast. While caramel potatoes are the norm, I recommend serving this with Double-sided hasselback potatoes. Add a cured side of salmon and you’re well on the way to a very impressive Yuletide spread.
Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the pork all over in thin strips. Place the pork on a rack in the sink and pour boiling water all over the skin. Rub salt all over the skin and flesh. If using the caraway seeds, rub them over the flesh only. Set aside for 1 hour to rest, or refrigerate overnight.
Heat your oven to 240°C, or as high as your oven will go. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting tin. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and roast for a further 2½ hours (or 25 minutes per 500 g).
While the pork is in the oven, make the rødkål. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the cabbage, stirring now and then, for about 5 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Stir in the sugar, vinegar and salt, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir the redcurrant jam through, add a good grind of black pepper and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
When the pork has finished roasting, remove the pork and the rack from the roasting tin and rest for at least 20 minutes. Spoon most of the rendered pork fat out of the roasting tin, leaving the pan juices behind, then place the roasting tin on the stovetop over medium heat.
For the pan gravy, add the flour to the roasting tin and cook, scraping up any dark residue in the pan, until the flour is well blended with the rendered pork fat and starts to turn a deep brown. Add the wine and stir to create a thick paste. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring to remove any lumps, until a rich gravy forms. Strain the gravy, mix the vinegar through, then adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve the pork with the rødkål, pan gravy and hasselback potatoes. NOTE Don’t skimp on the gravy. A Swedish roast can be many things, but if it misses the gravy it’ll never be a hit.
This is an edited extract from Destination Flavour by Adam Liaw published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $50 and is available in stores nationally.
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