Spiced pork loin roast with butternut squash and sage

Spiced pork loin roast with butternut squash and sage

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy

Although pork crackling is lovely, pork loins are often sold without the skin, or with not enough fat beneath the skin for the skin to crackle. This recipe uses a skinless pork loin.


Quantity Ingredient
1 large butternut squash
50g butter
1kg boneless, skinless pork loin
1/2 teaspoon chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
few sprigs sage
150ml cider
250ml Chicken and veal stock
2 teaspoons butter, softened and mixed with 2 teaspoons flour, if needed
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Peel, halve and deseed the butternut squash, cut into 3 cm chunks and place in a bowl. Melt 10 g of the butter, pour it over the squash and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lipped baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until tender; a knife inserted through the flesh should pass through very easily.
  3. Meanwhile, weigh the pork loin and calculate the cooking time as 25 minutes per 450 g, plus 20 minutes.
  4. Use a sharp knife to score the fat of the loin, in lines to create a diamond pattern, and taking care to cut only through the fat. Mix the spices together, with some salt and pepper, and rub the mixture all over the scored fat. Place in a small roasting tin and roast in the oven for the calculated time, alongside the butternut, lowering the oven setting to 170ºC after 20 minutes.
  5. When the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, blend in a food processor until completely smooth.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter in a small saucepan and cook to a beurre noisette. Chiffonade 4–5 sage leaves. Add the puréed squash and the sage to the beurre noisette, taste, adjust the seasoning and keep warm.
  7. Check the pork: a skewer inserted into the thickest part for 10 seconds and held against your inner wrist should feel hot. Transfer the pork to a board and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, place the roasting tin over a medium heat, deglaze with the cider, and reduce to 2–3 tablespoons, then add the stock and simmer for about 5 minutes to develop the flavour. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour in any resting juices from the pork. If necessary, thicken with a little beurre manié (the butter and flour mixture).
  9. Carve the pork into thin slices and serve with the sauce and puréed squash. Braised greens or tenderstem broccoli would be an ideal accompaniment.


  • Pork loin roast with za’atar and thyme sweet potato: Omit the five-spice powder, star anise and cumin. Replace the spice rub with 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses, spreading it thinly on the pork skin, and dust with 2–3 teaspoons za’atar. Replace the butternut squash with 3 large sweet potatoes, roasted whole in their skins until tender (omitting the butter), then cooled and the flesh scooped out and puréed. Omit the sage. Strip the leaves of a small handful of thyme sprigs, finely chop and add to the beurre noisette with the sweet potato.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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