The perfect recipe for a dinner party.
Pork rack sits between the pork loin and the start of the shoulder and should consist of seven rib bones, the back bone is removed to allow each rib to be cut off easily. The skin should be finely scored – in parallel lines, not big diamonds, which rarely make the best crackling. There should always be a nice layer of fat between the skin and the eye muscle of the meat.
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Lay the pork bone side down on a wooden board. Take a sharp knife and insert between the skin and eye of the meat, where the eye is at its widest. What we're trying to achieve is to make a pocket that runs the full length of the rack, with the muscle on the bottom of the pocket and the skin on the top. It is probably easier if the pocket is cut from the left towards the middle, and then right right towards the middle.
2. The meat and the skin need to be attached at the bottom of the pocket and the top of the pocket. Fill the pocket with the apricots, sliding thm in so that there are two between each rib.
3. Lay the thyme in the bottom of the roasting tin and set the rack skin side up over the thyme. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until some of the fat starts to run.
4. When there is some fat in the bottom of the tin, toss the shallots in it and put back in the oven again for a further 2 hours, by which time the crackling will be crisp and bubbly and the apricots will have fallen, allowing the juice to lubricate the pork.
5. Take the pork out of the tin (being careful not to let the apricots slide out), and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain all the cooking juices through a sieve using the back of a wooden spoon to crush the shallots to release any juice they have.
6. Skim the excess fat from the liquid, return to the roasting tin with the cider and reduce by half to make a gravy. Serve by cutting between each rib, giving a thick slice per portion.
1 Rack of pork 4 to 7 ribs long
8 to 14 semi-dried apricots (2 per rib)
4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme tied together
1 wine glass of dry cider