Nigel Slater’s recipe for pork and pumpkin

I don’t serve any gravy with this, but, if you wish, pour off the fat from the roasting tin, then deglaze over a moderate heat with a little white wine or cider, scraping at the encrusted pork and pumpkin juices on the tin. Season carefully and serve with the pork.

Ask the butcher to score the pork skin for crackling. Leave the meat, uncovered, overnight, so that the surface dries. That way lies crisper crackling.

Serves 4-5
pumpkin 1, medium-small to medium sized
pork loin 1-1.25kg, rolled and tied
thyme 6-8 sprigs
rosemary 6 stems
olive or groundnut oil 2 tbsp

Set the oven at 200C fan/gas mark 7. Remove the skin from the pumpkin or squash. The best way to do this is to cut a slice from the top and base, so it stands firm on the chopping board, then remove the thick skin by peeling down the sides with a large, heavy cook’s knife. Slice the pumpkin into 5 large segments, then remove the seeds and fibres from the middle.

Place the peeled and seeded segments of pumpkin in a large roasting tin.

Check that the surface of the pork skin is dry to the touch (wet pork will not crisp appetisingly). Put the loin on top of the squash, brush the skin with a little oil – just enough to allow the seasonings to adhere – then rub in a generous amount of sea salt. Grind over a little black pepper.

Tuck the sprigs of herbs on top and among the squash. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 160C fan/gas mark 4, and continue roasting for 60 minutes.

Remove the pork and pumpkin from the oven, lift the pork out and put it somewhere warm to rest. Check the pumpkin for tenderness. It may need turning over and returning to the oven. Let it roast till truly tender and glowing.

Once the pork has rested for 20 minutes, carve it into thick slices, together with its crackling, and serve with the pumpkin.