Fermenting is an age-old technique that takes very little effort but provides amazing results. It also has wonderful health benefits. The acidity from the cabbage and apple cut through the pork very well. I like to use Granny Smith apples for this as they have a good acidity to them.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 head white cabbage
  • 2-3kg pork loin end
  • 1 handful bay leaves
  • 1 handful fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 green apples
  • 50g salt and 20g sugar per litre of water

Method:

1. One month before, thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large tray or bowl. Generously cover in salt, which will start the fermenting process and draw out moisture. Keep in a warm place overnight. Transfer both the cabbage and the liquid into sterilised kilner jars, packing tightly so that the moisture is above the level of the cabbage. Label and date, and store at room temperature. This process improves with age.

2 To brine the pork, for every litre of water add 50g salt and 20g sugar. Place cold water, salt and sugar in a bowl and whisk together until dissolved. Place the pork (it should be cold) in the brine for 24 hours, ensuring the water covers the joint and place in the fridge. Once brined, remove and pat dry with kitchen roll.

3. Put the bay leaves and fennel in a grinder and blitz. Use this mix to coat the pork meat. Place on a baking tray in the oven at 180°/gas mark 4, for around one hour.

4. To make the burnt apple, place the whole apples on a tray and place in the oven along with the pork. Leave in the oven for around 45 minutes – the natural sugars
will caramelise and apples will soften and turn brown, this is when they are ready.
Add the whole apples (skin, pips and all) to a blender and purée. Set aside and reheat
2 later.

5. To serve, heat up the apple purée and fermented cabbage in separate pots.
Slice the pork and serve with the apple
3 and cabbage.

Tip:  Brining will make a big difference to the pork and if the time is not available to ferment the cabbage, a good quality shop-bought fermented cabbage will suffice.

Recipe Credit: Rob Krawczyk of Tankardstown House
Photography: Brian Clarke at Harry Weir