Roast leg of pork with bacon and cranberry stuffing, a fantastic tasting roast that is simple to prepare, a great Sunday lunch dish!
Roast leg of pork is one of my favourite roasting joints. Elevated here with the additional of a bacon and cranberry stuffing, layering just underneath the top layer of fat and sitting directly on top of the meat, flavouring the pork joint beautifully.
I enjoy adding a simple flavours to a roast, but in the case of pork I don’t want anything affecting the crispiness of my crackling.
That’s why I like to place the cranberry stuffing right on top of the meat, under the thick layer of fat and away from the skin!
To flavour the cranberry stuffing, I have used a combination of salty bacon, aromatic thyme and warm spices to balance out the sweet cranberries.
Roast leg of pork recipe steps:
I have broken this recipe down into two sets of steps, the first for preparing the cranberry stuffing for the pork roast. The second step shows how to stuff the pork ready for roasting!
Cranberry stuffing recipe:
How to stuff the pork leg:
How long does it take to cook boneless leg of pork?
The length of time it takes to cook any joint depends on the size of the joint you are cooking. Put simply, bigger joints take longer to cook!
Leg of pork has a lower fat content that other pork roasting joints which means it can dry out more than other cuts. For this reason it is essential not to over cook the pork it also to allow the roast time to rest.
Preheat the oven to 250C/230CFan and sear the stuffed pork roast for 20 minutes to crisp up the skin.
Then turn the oven down to180C/160CFan and continue to cook, allowing 45 minutes per kilo. So, for this 3kg joint that would be 2 hours 15 minutes.
I like to check the pork after 2 hours, to ensure I don’t over cook it. The joint is cooked when you have an internal temperature of 72-75C.
How to get the best pork crackling?
Crackling is something I love to eat, it’s the prize that all my family love and there always needs to be enough to go round!
To make the best crackling, start by drying the skin of the roast leg of pork, make the incisions in the skin (as described in the recipe steps above) and cover with salt. Then roast the pork as per the recipe card.
Once the joint has finished cooking, turn the oven to grill setting on high, approximately 220C.
Once the grill is hot, place the pork under the grill and allow the crackling to finish crisping up. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED at this point!
This is a crucial step if you want extra crispy crackling and it only takes minutes to ruin. You will see the bubbles start to form on the skin.
When golden brown remove the roast from oven, allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
Do not cover the meat as you don’t want to allow moisture into the crackling as this will soften it.
How long should you rest pork?
If you want to get the best flavour out of any joint of meat, it is really important to rest the meat. Ideally I would rest this roast leg of pork for 20 to 30 minutes.
By allowing this stuffed pork roast to rest, the juices within the roast settle back into the meat. This results is a moist and tasty roasted meat.
What cuts of pork are the best for stuffing?
Our recipe uses boneless leg of pork which is easily stuffed. However, you can also use other joints of pork!
Pork Tenderloin (Fillet):
Pork tenderloin is a simple cut to stuff. Using a sharp knife, cut the fillet out to form a flatter piece of meat. Then place in the stuffing and roll the fillet back up again, securing the stuffing in the middle, and tie.
Point to note: pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat and should not be roasted at the same high temperature as other pork joints.
If using this cut, take care not to overcook it. The lack of fat means it can dry out really quickly, so I like to wrap the pork fillet up in some streaky bacon which adds an extra layer of protection.
French Trimmed Loin of Pork:
I like using a French trimmed loin of pork, or pork rack, as I like cooking meat on the bone. However, despite being on the bone, you can still stuff this joint.
Using a very sharp knife make a pocket between the bone and the thick layer of fat and skin. Take care not to cut the whole way down!
Next spoon the stuffing into the pocket, placing it against the meat and bone, tie it up to stop any stuffing falling out and cook!
Should you cover pork when roasting?
I don’t cover pork when I’m roasting it as I want crackling. If you cover the skin it simply won’t crisp up and give you that crunchy crackling top!
Covering the meat does keep the moisture in and stops the roast from drying out, but I tend not to! I combat dryness by cooking it at a slightly lower temperature and always allowing it to rest.
Pin the recipe:
What should I serve with stuffed roast pork?
Roast leg of pork and crackling is a rich joint, so I like to serve it with vegetables that will cut through the richness of the meat. These vegetable side dishes all work really well with roast pork.
- Traditional Braised Red Cabbage
- Savoy Cabbage with Cider, Apple & Bacon
- Creamed Brussel Sprouts
- Potato Pave
- Easy Boulangere Potatoes
Additional recipe suggestions:
If you like this recipe then try some of our other great dinner mains:
- Slow Roast Pork Belly
- Roast Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Bacon with Sage
- Roast Guinea Fowl with Rich Jus
- Pan-fried Chicken with Bacon & Beans
- Sirloin Steak with Mushroom & Madeira Sauce
Roast Leg of Pork with Bacon & Cranberry Stuffing
- Deep sided roasting tray
- Rack to fit inside roasting tray
- 3 kg boneless leg of pork joint (ensure joint has thick layer of skin)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 800 g smoked streaky bacon (approx 4 thick slices or 6 thin slices of bacon)
- 100 g dried cranberries
- 2 banana shallots (finely diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme (woody stalks removed)
- 2 tsp fennel seeds (lightly crushed)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 250C/230CFan.
Making the cranberry stuffing:
- Warm a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the smoked streaky bacon, dried cranberries, diced shallots, garlic, thyme leaves and lightly crushed fennel seeds to the pan and saute gently for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Once the stuffing has cooked through, add in the ground cinnamon and ginger, stir for a further minute. Check the taste before adding salt and ground black pepper and then set aside to cool.
- Top tip! It is important to season the stuffing only once it is cooked and you have tasted it. You need to check how much salt the smoked bacon added to the mix.
Stuffing the boneless pork leg:
- Start to prepare the pork leg by scoring the skin. Firstly using a very sharp Stanley knife, puncture the skin all over with a stab like motion, taking good care not to allow the knife to penetrate the meat, only the skin and fat. You can also score the skin into 1 inch squares as it usually done by the butcher (or have your butcher do this for you).
- Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut through the layer of fat, close to the meat, but not cutting into the meat! Cut right through the layer of fat and skin, but don't take the skin completely off – leave one side still attached to the joint of meat. This will form a flap of skin on top of the meat, where you will place the stuffing.
- Pull back the flap of skin and fat and spoon the stuffing in a layer across the meat, leaving an area of 2.5cm around the edge free of stuffing.
- Now pull the flap of skin back over the meat and tuck it back around the meat to form a secure roll. Tie the roast back together, securing it with string.
- Pop a roasting rack on the bottom of a roasting tin and place the pork joint on top of the rack.
- Rub the skin with 1tsp salt and crack over some black pepper.
Roasting the pork:
- Place the pork roast the preheated oven at 250C/230CFan for 30 minutes to sear the meat and crisp the skin.
- Then turn the oven down to 180C/160CFan and cook the roast, allowing 45 minutes per kilo (so for a 3kg piece of pork approximately 2 hours 15 minutes). Check the internal temperature at 2 hours and continue to check regularly thereafter until the roast is cooked.
- Leg of pork is a fairly lean cut of meat so you don't want the pork to overcook and dry out!
- The roast is cooked when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 72-75C.
Achieving the best crackling:
- Turn the oven to grill setting on high, approximately 220C. Once the grill is hot, place the pork under and allow the crackling to finish crisping up. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED at this point! This is a crucial step if you want extra crispy crackling and only takes minutes to ruin. You will see the bubbles start to form on the skin.
Resting the pork:
- When the crackling is golden and has bubbled up remove from oven, allow the joint to rest for 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving. Do not cover the meat as you don't want to allow moisture into the crackling as this will soften it.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •Share on Facebook