The winter holiday season is a great time to spend with family and friends with all of the exciting celebrations and get-togethers happening. At most of these events, food has a center point where everyone gathers as they eat and enjoy whatever dish there is. From centerpieces to side dishes, it's important to keep things simple and efficient so you're not super stressed. Each of these recipes is an easy recipe to pull off, but will impress your guests!
The first recipe I wanted to do for this series is a centerpiece. Our family had this Crispy Roasted Pork Leg as the center of our Christmas dinner, and it was definitely a huge hit. Extremely simple to pull off, it simply requires some altering of temperatures in the oven and early prep work. Other than that, it can be easily just be left in the oven while guests are being entertained or other parts of the meal or being prepped (or if you just want to take a long break, that works too!)
Pork leg itself is a more relatively cheap cut of meat at a little over 4 dollars a pound, making it perfect for families looking for a great centerpiece on a tighter budget. It is more meat for your money than turkey or poultry as well, so you get more meat out of a pork leg than a turkey of the same weight.
This pork leg is incredibly tender and juicy, while the crispy skin from the rendered rind makes an amazing topping and looks impressive when scored (which makes the skin even crispier since the oven hits more of it!)
Recipe serves up to 20 people.
1 12-18 pound pork leg, skin on
1/4 cup kosher salt
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoon dried chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
1) Let the pork leg sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before starting. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
2) Use the edge of a sharp chef's knife/santoku/straight-edged knife to score the rind of the pork leg. You want to get diamonds roughly half an inch to an inch thick. Be sure to not cut down to the meat.
3) Combine the salt, garlic, and herbs in a bowl, then rub into the pork rind, ensuring to get some into the score marks you've made. Any leftover can be rubbed onto the actual meat to season it.
4) Coat the skin with the oil to help prevent the rind from burning.
5) Place the pork leg onto a roasting tray and into the oven. Leave it at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and cook for 15 minutes per pound.
6) Let rest (covered with tinfoil to trap in heat) for a good 30-45 minutes after taking the pork leg out of the oven. Carve up and serve! (You can serve the skin separately and let guests take pork leg pieces and crackling pieces together).
With no marinade or other extra added prep needed, this is a very easy centerpiece that will impress guests because of the tasty pork crackling and the juicy, sweet flesh of the pork. This centerpiece, because of the simplicity of it, also is versatile enough to be paired with any style of menu - from Italian or French-inspired meals to Spanish, Mexican, Carribbean, or even Filipino! Pork is such a versatile meat with great flavor, and this centerpiece really showcases that.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)