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Home-Made Pork Scratchings With Apple and Mustard Sauce

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

I love crackling; I love pork scratchings, even in their junk-food-packaged over-salted incarnation, too: this, here, is perhaps the best of both worlds. In fact, these make me so suffused with greedy pleasure, I do grasp why, for some, gluttony is considered a sin. For me, though, it is a blessing. Occasions of joy in life should be greeted with gratitude, not with guilt. A degree of caution is warranted, but only for practical — rather than spiritual — reasons. I’m assuming you won’t be eating these, anyway, if you have concerns about fat or salt; but also, as it says on the packets of pork scratchings I buy, these are “only recommended for people with strong, healthy teeth”.

You need to go to a butcher to get the pork rind, so you may as well ask for it to be scored at the same time, to help it crisp up nicely in the oven. Your only responsibility where the rind is concerned, is to store it well. Plastic wrap of any sort will make it soggy, so either put it on the bottom shelf of the fridge still in the butcher’s “peach” paper, or wrapped loosely in greaseproof paper or baking parchment, or just leave it open, in a roasting tin, on the bottom shelf of the fridge and away from other foods.

While these are gorgeous to crunch on with nothing more alongside than a cold beer or glass of wine, I do urge you to make the Apple and Mustard Sauce for dippage, too.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I love crackling; I love pork scratchings, even in their junk-food-packaged over-salted incarnation, too: this, here, is perhaps the best of both worlds. In fact, these make me so suffused with greedy pleasure, I do grasp why, for some, gluttony is considered a sin. For me, though, it is a blessing. Occasions of joy in life should be greeted with gratitude, not with guilt. A degree of caution is warranted, but only for practical — rather than spiritual — reasons. I’m assuming you won’t be eating these, anyway, if you have concerns about fat or salt; but also, as it says on the packets of pork scratchings I buy, these are “only recommended for people with strong, healthy teeth”.

You need to go to a butcher to get the pork rind, so you may as well ask for it to be scored at the same time, to help it crisp up nicely in the oven. Your only responsibility where the rind is concerned, is to store it well. Plastic wrap of any sort will make it soggy, so either put it on the bottom shelf of the fridge still in the butcher’s “peach” paper, or wrapped loosely in greaseproof paper or baking parchment, or just leave it open, in a roasting tin, on the bottom shelf of the fridge and away from other foods.

While these are gorgeous to crunch on with nothing more alongside than a cold beer or glass of wine, I do urge you to make the Apple and Mustard Sauce for dippage, too.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Home-Made Pork Scratchings
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Makes: 25 pork scratchings

Metric Cups

For the pork scratchings

  • 500 grams pork rind (in 2 scored slabs)
  • sea salt flakes (to taste)

For the apple and mustard sauce

  • approx. 500g - 3 large - granny smith apples
  • 4 teaspoons English mustard powder (plus more to taste)
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 spring onion (trimmed and left whole)

For the pork scratchings

  • 1 pound pork skin (with some fat attached) (in 2 scored slabs)
  • kosher salt (to taste)

For the apple and mustard sauce

  • approx. 1lb - 3 large - granny smith apples
  • 4 teaspoons English mustard powder (plus more to taste)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 scallion (trimmed and left whole)

Method

For the pork scratchings

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/425°F. Cut the pork rind into 25 pieces (each approx. 2 x 4cm / 1 x 1½ inches) with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors.
  2. Put the pieces of rind on a low-lipped baking tray or slotted top of a grill pan, rind-side up. Slide this onto a rack at the top of the hot oven for 25 minutes, and then turn the pieces over for a final 5 minutes.
  3. Once out of the oven, sprinkle generously with sea salt, and remove carefully to a plate lined with a sheet of kitchen roll for a moment to drain and cool a little, before serving on a few plates, alongside the mustardy apple sauce or just by themselves if you wish.

For the apple and mustard sauce

  1. Peel and core the apples, and roughly chop them into pieces.
  2. Put the apples into a saucepan with the mustard, maple syrup, salt, lemon juice and spring onion (left whole just to give flavour).
  3. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a bubbling boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the apples are soft, stirring once or twice.
  4. Remove the onion and discard, then mash the sauce a little with the back of a spoon if necessary.
  5. Taste the sauce; if you fancy it a little hotter, add some more mustard, though it may be wiser to leave final seasoning till you've tasted the sauce cold.
  6. Serve, cold, though not fridge-cold, with the pork scratchings.

For the pork scratchings

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/425°F. Cut the pork skin (with some fat attached) into 25 pieces (each approx. 2 x 4cm / 1 x 1½ inches) with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors.
  2. Put the pieces of rind on a low-lipped baking tray or slotted top of a grill pan, rind-side up. Slide this onto a rack at the top of the hot oven for 25 minutes, and then turn the pieces over for a final 5 minutes.
  3. Once out of the oven, sprinkle generously with sea salt, and remove carefully to a plate lined with a sheet of kitchen roll for a moment to drain and cool a little, before serving on a few plates, alongside the mustardy apple sauce or just by themselves if you wish.

For the apple and mustard sauce

  1. Peel and core the apples, and roughly chop them into pieces.
  2. Put the apples into a saucepan with the mustard, maple syrup, salt, lemon juice and scallion (left whole just to give flavour).
  3. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a bubbling boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the apples are soft, stirring once or twice.
  4. Remove the onion and discard, then mash the sauce a little with the back of a spoon if necessary.
  5. Taste the sauce; if you fancy it a little hotter, add some more mustard, though it may be wiser to leave final seasoning till you've tasted the sauce cold.
  6. Serve, cold, though not fridge-cold, with the pork scratchings.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
The rind can be cut up 1 day ahead. Store as directed. The scratchings can be cooked up to 1 hour ahead of serving, and should be eaten within 2 hours of cooking. Leave to stand in cool, dry place and pop back into hot oven for 5 minutes to reheat before serving.
The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead. Transfer to a non-metallic bowl to cool, then cover and refrigerate as soon as possible. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving, to serve cold but not chilled.

FREEZE:
The cooled sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and serve as above.

MAKE AHEAD:
The rind can be cut up 1 day ahead. Store as directed. The scratchings can be cooked up to 1 hour ahead of serving, and should be eaten within 2 hours of cooking. Leave to stand in cool, dry place and pop back into hot oven for 5 minutes to reheat before serving.
The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead. Transfer to a non-metallic bowl to cool, then cover and refrigerate as soon as possible. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving, to serve cold but not chilled.

FREEZE:
The cooled sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and serve as above.

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