Should foreigners be allowed to vote in Irish elections?

Pork Knuckle (4 of 4)I ask the question, not because I am a racist. But, instead, in a pathetic attempt to get your attention (and your vote) for my candidature in the Blog Awards Ireland 2015.  A few weeks ago, I begged you to vote for my entry in the Cono Sur Blogger competition. Many of you tried and failed (It is restricted to Irish based voters). I have forgiven you foreigners for your inadequacy and realise that there is a wider question to be answered. Should you be allowed to vote in Irish elections at all? 

Thankfully, you can vote for me in the Blog Awards Ireland 2015. I’m shortlisted in Best Food Blog. Click on the big image and give me your vote. I really don’t care if you are Irish or a foreigner. I want them all!Vote for Us Buttons 300x250When you have done that (and in an effort to dispel any thoughts about my potential, voting inspired, racism), I’ll prepare a German influenced dish, using Irish pork and apples, French cider, Spanish onions and caraway seeds of indeterminate Asian origin. The dish is Roasted Pork Knuckle and if the racist tag won’t stick, you can comfortably call me a penny-pinching skinflint. The knuckles cost a tiny €3 each. They are huge, with enough meat for two people on each. This is bargain basement food, fit to serve to visiting foreigners or locals alike. 

Very simple ingredients for a very simple dish.

Very simple ingredients for a very simple dish.


  • 5 pork knuckles (if you want to have some cold the next day)
  • 6 large onions
  • 4 Bramley apples
  • Salt (lots)
  • Black pepper
  • A large bottle of dry cider
  • A handful or two of caraway seeds
  • A small amount of oil to rub the skin of the pork
  • Half a pint of pork stock (not essential)

First, peel and slice the onions into chunks. Do likewise with the apples. Place both in the bottom of a large (very large) casserole dish.

That's a lot of onions. They will reduce and intensify in flavour.

That’s a lot of onions. They will reduce and intensify in flavour.

Score the skin on the knuckles. Try to avoid cutting into the meat. This is easier said than done.

This will make lovely rings of crackling. Don't be afraid of it.

This will make lovely rings of crackling. Don’t be afraid of it.

Rub the knuckles with lots of salt. It makes me think of what it must be like to massage an octogenarian.

The skin looks a little like the neck of an 80 year old woman.

The skin looks a little like the neck of an 80 year old woman.

Side note on “isms”: For the record, I don’t practise racism or ageism or any other “ism”s that you might want to throw my way. I really am a pretty balanced bloke. If you want to take offence at anything here, you can call me small, baldy or Irish (any combination of these will hit the mark pretty accurately).

Sit the knuckles on top of the onions and rub them with a little oil. Then rub them with the caraway seeds.

This is one of the most unusual roasts I have ever done.

This is one of the most unusual roasts I have ever done.

Pour about half the cider into the dish. Reserve the balance for yourself.

This will flavour the onions and pork. It will also make for a delicious sauce.

This will flavour the onions and pork. It will also make for a delicious sauce.

Place the dish in a 180ºC oven and leave it there for two hours.

Share a glass with a foreign friend while the meat roasts.

Share a glass with a foreign friend while the meat roasts.

Take the meat out. Place the meat in a different roasting tray and return it to the oven. Turn the heat up to 200ºC and turn on the fan. Strain the onions and apples, reserving the liquid. Strain the liquid into a pan and reduce by two-thirds. Add the pork stock (if using) and reduce to a nice sauce.

I had some highly concentrated pork stock in the freezer. It's perfect for this.

I had some highly concentrated pork stock in the freezer. It’s perfect for this.

Add a knob of butter towards the end. This will thicken the sauce and give it a nice sheen.

Fry the onions in a big saucepan (I used a wok) until they brown up nicely and reduce by about half. Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest for ten minutes.

A gratuitous meat resting photo. Look at that crackling!

A gratuitous meat resting photo. Look at that crackling!

Serve with your choice of vegetable. I served it on a bed of creamy mash. I had been out cycling earlier in the day and had an outrageous appetite. Hence, I ate a whole knuckle. Don’t judge me. That’s gsatroism and I frown on it.

Delicious pork gravy made this a meal fit for a king. Irish or foreign, it doesn't matter.

Delicious pork gravy made this a meal fit for a king. Irish or foreign, it doesn’t matter.

The second bottle of cider got polished off with the pork. It was an excellent Irish dish inspired by the Germans and using other European and Asian ingredients.

Foreign food! It gets my vote, for sure.

Foreign food! It gets my vote, for sure.

Now, no matter where you’re from, get over to the Blog Awards Ireland via the image link and throw me your vote. Vote for Us Buttons 300x250And, just in case you still have me down as a hater, when I go abroad, I’m a foreigner too. Of course we should have the vote!

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Latest comments
  • Those knuckles look fantastic! I often buy gammon knuckles at a similar price, but next time I’ll buy regular pork for a change 🙂

    • They are pretty monstrous. I had part of one of them cold for my evening meal this evening. Delicious. They are from free range pigs and there is a huge flavour difference. I wouldn’t bother with factory pork any more. Not fair on the pigs or the taste buds.

  • done! >

  • Done!

    • Thank you Lillian. Greatly appreciated.

  • I’ve voted for you on both foreign and Irish devices, Conor. It’s completely legal and encouraged in small semi-corrupt nations with wild economic and personality swings. Your knuckles look lovely. I’ll be using my own to rough up anyone who refuses to vote for you.

    • How did I miss this but of word play. That’s why I have you there Sparling. To keep me on my literary toes. Have you booked your seats for the 22nd Oct? Lucy will be bringing me again.

      • I don’t feel I can tempt fate just yet, Conor. It doesn’t like me. Generally, if I count chickens there tends to be an awful lot of sulphur about. But it would be fabulously lovely to see you and Lucy again. Vote for me, etc., etc. (and etc.)

  • I have also cast my voting bread on the waters. Good luck! Nice knuckles, too. Lx

    • Thanks Linda. It has to be the cheapest (and one of the tastiest) cuts of pork available. The crackling was pretty wonderful.

  • That Irish rain and green grass surely grow some fabulous pigs: haven’t seen any pork quite of such quality in Australia: but shall make this anyways as have not cooked much with cider and love the taste of caraway. Oh, the voting is ‘done and dusted’ of course – and we should have been able to vote for you in the Cono Sur competition also – we come to Ireland oft enough to have a talk and guests simply should not be sent away without being allowed to have a say . . .

    • Don’t even think of coming to Ireland again, if you don’t let me know in advance. I would love to meet you in person and thank you for all the voting, entertaining commenting and so forth. The caraway was a first for me with pork and I really enjoyed it.

      • That was a ‘public statement’, Conor Bofin, and one day I’ll hold you to it 🙂 !!

  • You can come over here and vote our horrendous government out any day. In the meantime, I knuckled down and voted for you. And I vote for this porklicious dish as well.

    • I’ll second that any day!

    • The comments are puntastic today. Thank you for the vote. I’m afraid to say that we get the governments we deserve….. Not that you personally deserve bad government. But, in the wider sense….

  • I am inspired to go and forage for some porky goodness at Mackay Wholesale Meats, the emporium of all meaty delights round here. My favourite pork skin scorer is a razor sharp box cutter, much quicker, I find. There’s nothing to beat apple, onion and cider with pork, but my Dutch ancestry is screaming that pork and caraway needs stewed red cabbage… You have my vote, of course. Conor for President of Europe!

    • Thanks Kate. The box cutter idea is a great one. I will need to go and buy some blades for mine (I have two and no blades). The red cabbage would be tasty, if a bit of vinegar was used, I think.

      • Yes, it would need a splash of something tart to balance the pork. Maybe balsamic, for a bit more complexity of taste.

  • Well, seeing that there is no South African ingredient in this recipe I have decided to withhold my vote until you have created…Oh wait, the apples are most probably imported from SA (I mean those in the cider!). 😉 You have my foreign vote Conor, good luck and thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Willie,
      Thanks for the vote. I hope the restaurant business continues to treat you well. We are at the change of season time of year and I find myself conflicted on menu choice. We are having summery days and cold nights. As soon as the weather settles down (and I mean down) I can get on with more hearty dishes. While I’m doing that, you will be doing the opposite. I will keep my eyes open for any South African game to experiment on. However, it is pretty rare here.

  • My vote is in. I have a couple of knuckles in my freezer. I’ll see what I can do with them.

    • Thanks John,
      This is my first time cooking them. I hope it won’t be my last. I suspect they could be fantastic cooked sous vide and possibly smoked too. Lots of experimenting to follow.

  • My vote is cast…..good luck, Conor….

    • Thanks Roger,
      Certain people’s votes should count for more than others. Yours fits that bill.

  • Vote early and vote often! Done. Oh, and those knuckles look grand, whatever nationality they are.

    • Thanks Michelle,
      I hope your Scottish visit is a great success. It is a lovely time of year to see that lovely wild country. The voting is greatly appreciated.

  • This looks great, Conor! I think these are called ham hocks in the US. It won’t surprise that I like to prepare them sous-vide 😉 Nice combination with caraway and apples. I bet the sauce was very tasty. This time I managed to vote for you.

    • Thanks Stefan,
      The sous vide approach could be excellent. The quality of the meat is excellent. I am cogitating finishing them in a smoker. They could be delicious. The vote, like the comment, is appreciated.

  • This is amazing. And best of luck on the award! It will be well deserved.

    • Thanks Virginia,
      No doubt you have been to the poling station at this stage…..

      • 🙂 But of course. That’s quite the list of bloggers up for the award! But I’m confident you’ll rise to the top.

  • Two questions, did you cover them when putting them in the oven? Would it work in the le creuset? We were only talking last night about wanting to try a new pork dish!! Voting done and dusted.

    • Thanks Emma,
      Two answers, No. Yes and no. I didn’t cover them and they stayed nice and moist because of the cider. The skin then crisped up when I removed everything bar the meat. I actually used a Le Creuset roasting dish. I suspect they would do very well in a casserole dish, as long as you leave the lid off. Otherwise, they would steam too much and you would never get the skin to turn to crackling. Thanks for the vote. Greatly appreciated.

  • You better believe I voted for you! This dish looks incredible. Love how you served it on creamy mash. Good luck!

  • Done, dammit, but Conor you are up against another blogger I follow. But I followed you first and found him through you, so you won out. NOW on to the real issue. I am from Texas. Pig pork cracklin’s are all about that so wait, what? No mention of the good ole’ U.S, of A???? (OK and Texas specifically, because, well, we are special.) 😉 Best of luck, Conor!

    • Thanks Kathryn,
      He won’t mind, I’m sure 😉.

    • And I’ll be mentioning Texas in a chili post soon!

      • HA! I had a post all ready to reprimand you about that but pulled it back in the nick of time when I saw this comment. You are a lucky man. Be kind to us. 😉 XOXO

  • Good looking knuckles indeed!

  • When the dark nights creep in and the heating packs up as it does on an annual basis this is the kind of food I’ll be hankering for. What a dish of comfort. I’ve never cooked or eaten pork knuckle so looking forward to trying it out. Still not voting for you. 😉

    • Thanks Sheila (I think). You do realise that by stating here that you won’t vote for me, my foreign friends, who can vote, will take me under their metaphorical wing and give me even more votes. They may pop over to your (admittedly excellent) blog. But, I will have their vote already. Ha!

      • Ah here, I thought it was being renamed the Conor Bofin awards anyway 🙂

    • BTW. Our heating packed up two months ago. Numerous visits by engineers, digging up the patio, installing valves and flanges have all failed to date. I hope the weather holds….

      • ours {heating} is controlled {ha!} by thermostats that mustn’t like me very much, ignore my settings and leave me to freeze

  • Vote done. Also please feel free to vote for Labour next General Election in the UK. I’m looking forward to the return of three day weeks and 15% interest weeks (Dad told me all about it).

    • Excellent man yourself. I remember the interest rates. No fun. At least you now have a right and a left. It had been right and righter for too long.

      • I really want to see what it would be like to not have the bins collected for three months. Anarchy. And what intermittent internet access? Society would be destroyed. Can’t wait.

  • I love the American terminology for foreigners, ‘aliens’. I’ve always wanted to be an alien. Not sure why, maybe it’s their transcendence to a higher plane of thought (or just that I like the idea of having a spaceship!). Anyway, I would be honoured to vote for you. You prove that the Irish eat more than just potatoes*.

    *I had to add that in, seeing as you’re talking about racism in this post. Are your eyes smiling? I wrote this comment whilst eating barbecued meat, wearing my wifebeater singlet and thongs (aren’t stereotypes ridiculous?!)

    • Thanks for the vote. I approve of your stereotypes. The way you describe your attire Laura makes me want to possibly look for a lift in your spaceship!

      • Haha, if I had one you’d definitely be my first passenger Conor!

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