Tips & tricks for the most delicious New Year's pork roast brought to you by chef Mario Mihelj
Chef Mario Mihelj, the executive chef of the Zagreb restaurants El Toro and Maredo, is a great fan and master of preparing meat delicacies. For Delicious Zagreb, he revealed the tricks for the tastiest pork roast with the crispiest crust.
Mario says that the secret lies in the brine. Young pork has a specific smell and that is why brine is the ideal way to prepare the meat to balance the flavours. In this way, even those who are not especially fond of this type of meat will certainly enjoy this New Year's traditional meal.
In his restaurants, Chef Mihelj prepares the meat of a Spanish suckling pig, which is an international delicacy, but you can use his instructions to prepare the regular domestic piglet.
Piglet or suckling pig – size optional
fennel and coriander seeds
Brine is a great way to season your meat; any kind of meat can be brined before roasting.
The base of the brine is water, salt and sugar, and other spices are added depending on preferences and the type of meat. The general rule is that the amount of brine needed is not measured by the weight of the meat, but by the amount of water. More specifically, there must be enough water to cover the meat by an inch. To that amount of water, add 5% salt, 2.5% sugar and other spices as desired. It is ideal to heat the brine to 60 degrees so that all the spices release their aromas and essential oils. When the aromatic water cools down, place the meat in it.
Soak the piglet of approximately 5 kg in the brine for 24 hours, then drain it, cut it lengthwise and spread it open in the shape of a butterfly so that it can be roasted evenly. Before roasting, coat it with pork fat and roast at approximately 180 °C for approximately three hours, basting occasionally. In the last 20 minutes, raise the temperature to 200 °C so that the skin is nicely browned and crispy.
Serve with side dishes of your choice - baked potatoes, Olivier salad, vegetables, green salad - whatever you prefer.