Danish-style roast pork
On the Danish dinner table, you would be hard pressed to find a dish more classic than this. This Danish-style roast pork is a sure hit with all Danes (well except if they happen to be vegetarians of course..).
The secret to a really exceptional roast pork, is to use a piece of neck with a good rind. There should be enough fat below the skin so that there is about a centimeter from the skin to the meat, otherwise the cracklings which are the hallmark of this dish will not be perfect. Apart from that, the fat content of the roast should be as low as possible. If you are not in the financial league for a piece of neck, a piece of rib roast will also accommodate you. The important thing again is the rind.
The basic ingredients for this dish are very modest. This is for four regular people. If you are hosting hungry Danes I would advise that you double the amounts
This dish is surprisingly easy to make. Place the roast with the rind down, in a dish that is just big enough to hold the roast, without it touching the edges. This is mostly a concern about the stock, which gets better the smaller the dish you use. You need the stock later for the traditional brown sauce. Fill the dish with enough water to cover the rind, but no more. Add the bay leaves to the water.
Place the roast in the middle of an oven preheated to 175 degrees centigrade. Cook it there for thirty minutes.
Take out the roast and put it on a board with the rind up. Don't remove the stock from the dish yet. Use a sharp knife to carve the rind into half-centimeter strips. Carve just so deep that you almost hit the meat, but be very careful not to carve all the way into the meat. The strips should be carved in the direction you would cut the meat when serving. Now distribute the salt evenly on the rind and massage it into the rind. Make sure you get a good part of the salt in between the strips you have carved, but do leave some on the top.
Put the roast back in the dish with the rind up, and place it back in the oven in the bottom of it this time. Here it needs to cook for one and a half to two hours.
When it is done cooking, take it out of the oven and separate the stock. Turn up the heat on the oven to 275 degrees, and put the roast back in. This is when the magic happens. The rind will start bubbling up and become cracklings. You can also use the oven's grill, if you have that - however, if the rind is not evenly distanced to the grill, it will get cooked a lot faster where the rind is closer to the grill. You will then have to take out the roast before some the rind has cooked enough. This gives you bad cracklings which is almost disastrous. Using just high temperature you can make sure the rind gets enough heat all over.
Slice the roast along the crackling carvings. Be careful that the crackling remains on the slice. Serving a piece of roast without crackling on it, is in Denmark almost an offence punishable by law. The only way you can try to keep people happy in this case, is to carefully find a piece of crackling, of at least equal size, to go along with the slice of meat. Serve the roast with brown sauce, red cabbage and white and caramelled potatoes. If anything about this dish will pose a challenge to you, it will be preparing the red cabbage or the caramelled potatoes.
Slices of cold flæskesteg are excellent as part of "Det store kolde bord".