Roasted picnic pork with baked apples

4lb 8oz-5lb loin of picnic pork roast
1 garlic clove , crushed
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary , plus a few extra whole sprigs
1 large onion , thickly sliced
2 tbsp apple cider for gravy
14oz. vegetable stock for the gravy

1/2 cup butter softened
Brown sugar
6 good-sized apples , preferably Macintosh

Make some deep incisions in the pork, close to the bone. Mix together the garlic, chopped rosemary and 1 teaspoon garlic salt. Rub into the cuts, spreading any extra over the meat. Set aside for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F.

Scatter the onion and a few sprigs of rosemary into a roasting tin. Put the pork on top, skinned side up, cover tightly with foil and roast for 30 minutes.

Turn down the heat to 375F and cook the roast for a further hour.
Remove the foil and roast uncovered for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the apples. In a pan melt the butter and cook the onion gently until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Core the apples. Fill each apple with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, and onions.

Remove the pork from the oven. Turn the heat to 300F. Stand the apples around the pork, brush the pork with a little of the drippings and drizzle a little over the apples. Return to the oven and roast uncovered, for a further 20-25 minutes. Baste the pork twice with the juices. Test the pork by piercing in the center with a skewer. The juices should run clear, not pink. If in doubt, remove the apples, keep warm, cover the pork with foil and cook for 10-15 minutes more.

Put the pork and apples on a warmed plate, cover with foil and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Spoon off the excess fat from the tin and put the tin on the stove over a medium-high heat. Add flour, and pour in the vegetable stock. Boil vigorously for 5-6 minutes. Taste and season, adding a little apple cider vinegar to taste. Strain into a gravy boat. Serve the pork and apples with the crackling, garnished with rosemary.


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