If you’ve got time, leave the pork in its marinade-rub for 12 or even 24 hours. But otherwise, just do the necessary when you get home in the evening. By roasting the pork at gas mark 6/200C (note: about 400F) you can accommodate both croutons and meat. You want the loin boned and rindless but with a very thin layer of fat still on, and tied at regular intervals. That’s why I go to the butcher. And ask him to chop the bones and give them to you to take home while he’s about it. The boned, de-rinded weight of a 2 1/4 kg joint should be about 1.8 kg.


Loin of Pork with Bay Leaves

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, bruised, and, crushed, with the flat side of a knife
  • 6 peppercorns, bruised
  • 6 dried or fresh bay leaf, crumbled or 2 tsp ground bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 kg. loin of pork, boned, de-rinded, and, rolled, (1.8 kg oven-ready weight)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 16 more dried or fresh bay leaf, whole
  • 150 ml white wine


Loin of Pork with Bay Leaves

  1. In an small bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, salt, peppercorns, crumbled or ground bay and a teaspoon of, preferably, rock salt and then put the pork on a large dish or in a large polythene bag, and rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover the dish or tie up the bag and leave in the fridge if you’ve got steeping time, otherwise -if you’re about to start cooking it- just leave it out.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200 C (note: about 400F). Finely slice a peeled medium onion and line the roasting tray with it. Strew about 10 bay leaves over the onion. Place the pork, including its marinade, on top and the bones all around, if they fit and if you’ve got them. Roast in the oven for 1 and 3/4 hours, basting regularly.
  3. Remove the pork, scraping burnt bits off, to a plate or carving board and let it sit. On the hob at moderate heat, pour about 150ml wine and 150ml boiling water over the bones, bay, garlic and onion. Let it bubble up and reduce by about a third, and then remove the bones gingerly and strain the liquid contents into a saucepan. Heat, taste, and add liquid as you like to make a good, thin, not-quite gravy.
  4. You can carve, put the slices on a big warmed plate, sprinkle with salt and pour over a little of the juice-gravy, then tent with foil and leave in the turned-off oven while you eat the starter. It is a bit prinky, I know, but it will look fabulous if, when you take it out, you arrange, Napoleanically, some more bay leaves around the edges of the dish with the bay-scented pork.

Excerpted from How To Eat by Nigella Lawson
Copyright © Nigella Lawson 1998