Suckling Pig With Baked Apples And Pan-Fried Chicory

80g fennel seeds, lightly toasted

0.5 cup sea salt

0.5 cup rosemary leaves

7kg suckling pig, quartered, or 2 pieces of pork belly cleaned

2.5 tablespoons mustard oil or extra virgin olive oil

12 carrots (about 1.3kg), halved lengthways

1 cup chicken stock

125ml dry white wine

50g cold butter, chopped
Baked apples

10 pink lady apples

60g butter

10 sage leaves, torn

Pan-fried chicory 

2 bunches of chicory (about 800g each), stalks removed, cut into 4cm pieces

150ml olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

0.5 cup lemon juice, or to taste

1. Place fennel seeds, sea salt and rosemary in a mortar, using a pestle, pound to a coarse powder.

2. Using a sharp knife, gently score pig skin at 1cm intervals. Rub with oil, then cover with fennel mixture and thoroughly rub into scored skin. Line bases of 2 large roasting pans with carrot halves and place suckling pig quarters, skin-side up over carrots. Add 1 _ cups water to each pan and cover pans lightly with foil.

3. Roast pig at 240 degrees for 1 hour, then baste with cooking juices, adding more water if necessary, swap pans from top to bottom on oven shelves. Re-cover pans tightly with foil and roast for another hour. Remove foil, then roast at 220 degrees for another 40 minutes or until skin is blistered and crisp. Transfer meat to a large dish, loosely cover with foil and stand for 20 minutes before cutting into smaller pieces. Strain pan juices through a fine sieve into a saucepan, discarding solids. 

4. Meanwhile, for baked apples, lightly score apples from stem to base and place in a roasting pan. Top each apple with 1 tablespoon of butter and scatter with torn sage leaves. Cover pan with foil and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender.

5. For pan-fried chicory, cook chicory in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes or until tender , drain and refresh in iced water, then drain and pat dry. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan, add garlic and anchovies and cook over medium heat until garlic starts to brown, then add chicory and cook for 5 minutes or until warmed through. Add lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Add chicken stock and wine to juices in pan and boil for 5 minutes or until reduced by half, whisk in butter until combined, then season to taste. Serve suckling pig, cut into pieces, with baked apples and chicory, with pan juices passed separately.

Serves 10

Recipe c/- Michael Darmanin, Australian Gourmet Traveller