Low-Carb Slow-Roasted Pork Neck with Caramelised Onions – Jane-Anne Hobbs

Jane-Anne Hobbs's Slow Roasted Pork Neck with caramelised onions

Jane-Anne Hobbs’s Slow Roasted Pork Neck
with caramelised onions

Pork neck is an inexpensive cut ideal for slow roasting. It has superlative flavour and a melting, juicy texture that cannot be rivalled by any other cut of pork. It’s a little difficult to find, but I’m pleased to see that Food Lovers Market now stocks vacuum-packed pork necks. If you don’t have a branch near you, look for it in a good German butchery, or ask your own butcher to order it for you. Dundee Butchery in Meadowridge always has it.

The fennel seeds add a very faint aniseed flavour, but you can leave them out if you wish. If you’re on a very low-carb regime, you might elect to omit the single apple in this recipe, but I urge you to leave it in, because it adds a lovely sweet note.

It’s a pain in the neck to slice onions, so I do this in a jiffy using my food processor and its thickest slicing blade.

Serve this with bright steamed vegetables, or with tender-stem broccoli, griddled courgettes, or shredded stir-fried cabbage.

Low-Carb Slow-Roasted Pork Neck with Caramelised Onions 

1 x 1.8 kg pork neck
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, for frying
5 large white onions, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 slim sticks celery, leaves removed and thinly sliced
1 large apple, cored and thinly sliced (no need to peel it)
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
½ tsp (2.5 ml) fennel seeds (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or chopped
4 Tbsp (60 ml) red wine
1 Tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp (60 ml) water
1 Tbsp (15 ml) prepared Dijon mustard
salt and milled black pepper

Pork Neck in preparation

Pork Neck in preparation

Heat to oven to 160 °C. Pat the pork neck dry on kitchen paper. Heat the oil in a large shallow ovenproof pan with a thick base. (You can do this in a heavy rectangular roasting pan, but you will need to watch the onions closely so they don’t catch or burn.)

When the oil is beginning to shimmer, add the pork neck.  Sear it over a high heat on all sides, until it is golden-brown all over.  You may find that the meat sticks to the bottom of the pan for the first few minutes, but it will loosen with a gentle nudge once its surface has browned. This process should not take more than about 6-7 minutes, if your pan is hot enough.

Remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add the onions, carrots, celery, apple, bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Cook over a low heat, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 15-20 minutes, or until the onions are soft and a glorious golden colour. Don’t allow the onions to burn, or you risk a bitter flavour.

Now add the garlic and cook for another minute, without letting it brown.

Turn up the heat and add the wine and vinegar. Deglaze the pan by stirring and scraping briskly to dislodge any sticky bits.

Pour in the water and place the pork neck on top of the veggies, along with any juices that have collected beneath it.  Cover the pan (use a double layer of tin foil if you don’t have a lid that fits snugly) and bake for one hour at 160 °C.  Remove the lid or foil, and add a few more tablespoons of water if the onions seem dry.

Turn the heat down to 150 °C and roast for another hour, uncovered.

Remove the pork neck from the pan, place it on a warmed platter and let it rest, loosely covered with a sheet of tin foil, for 15-20 minutes.

When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat the vegetables on your stove top and stir in the mustard. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Snip through and gently tear away the netting on the pork neck, then carve it into thick slices. Arrange these on a warmed platter, pour over any juices that have accumulated under it, and serve hot with the caramelised veggies.

If you’d like to try my-not-very successful low-carb ‘gravy’, remove two-thirds of the onion mixture, set aside and keep warm.  Heat the pan containing the remaining veggies, add two-thirds of a cup of water and bring to a gentle boil. Use a stick blender to blitz the mixture as finely as you can, adding more water if necessary.  Stir in 3 Tbsp (45 ml) cream and a little more Dijon mustard, if you think it needs it. Season generously with black pepper and serve hot.

Serves 6.

Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE

Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2013

Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2013

Jane-Anne Hobbs

Jane-Anne Hobbs

Jane-Anne Hobbs is a food writer de luxe. Recipe developer and photographer, she has written a stunning cookbook Scrumptious, click here to read my review.  Always on the look out for low carb dishes, she has latterly come up with some stunners. When she is not in her kitchen Jane-Anne runs one of South Africa’s most successful food websites and Facebook page – http://www.whatsfordinner.co.za/

CLICK HERE to go to her website.