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Deboned pork neck with sage and apricots

Dec 13, 2023 | Mains, Meat


Deboned pork neck with sage and apricots

Recipe from Food from the heart/Onthoukos
Serves 6 – 8

Roasted pork with herbs and apricots served on aromatic couscous is a feast of flavours. A deboned neck is such a fantastic cut of meat, as it’s affordable, succulent, flavourful, easy to carve and always looks impressive on the table. This roast can be done in the oven and is extra special when prepared in a kettle braai, as the added smokiness is so good. Pork goes well with sweeter flavours, like the Turkish apricots in the filling and the combination of that with mild spices and nuts in the couscous, is just perfect. With the well-known pairing of pork and sage, you just can’t go wrong.



125 ml (50 g) flaked almonds

150 g soft Turkish apricots, sliced

1 clove of garlic, crushed

100 ml chopped sage

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



2 kg deboned pork neck or loin

4 large onions, cut in thin wedges

another large handful of ordinary dried apricots, quartered

125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine

75 ml (5 tbsp) sherry

12-15 whole sage leaves


Spicy couscous

125 ml (50 g) flaked almonds

500 ml (380 g) couscous

500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock

15-30 ml (1-2 tbsp) olive oil

5-10 ml (1-2 tsp) ground mixed spice

6-8 soft Turkish apricots, cut in strips

15-20 mint leaves, roughly torn

50 ml chopped Italian parsley


1. Filling: Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place almonds for filling and couscous on a baking tray and roast until golden brown. Make sure it doesn’t burn as it roasts very quickly. Mix the almonds for the filling with the rest of the filling ingredients and season to taste. Keep the rest of the almonds to one side.
2. Meat: Carefully cut a long slit from the top to the bottom, along the length of the neck, to make a pocket for the filling. Don’t cut right through the neck. Season the meat on the inside of the pocket and spoon in the filling. Fold the meat over the filling and tie it closed along the entire length with string to keep its shape or use toothpicks. Season the meat well on both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Place the meat in a large oven dish, spoon onions and apricots around it and pour over the wine and sherry. Season to taste, roughly tear sage leaves and sprinkle over the meat and onions.
4. Roast meat for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes or until the meat is just cooked through, but still juicy. Allow the meat to rest before cutting. If preferred, thicken pan juices slightly with a little cornflour paste or serve as is with the couscous.
5. Couscous: Prepare the couscous while the meat is roasting. Place the couscous in a flat dish, pour hot stock over it and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir the couscous with a large fork and break up any lumps. Mix the olive oil through. Stir in spices, apricots and almonds, season to taste and keep warm. Stir in the herbs just before serving with the sliced meat and pan juices.



  1. Use ordinary apricots if Turkish apricots aren’t available and before using, soak in hot Rooibos tea until soft.
  2. Pot-roasted pork neck: Heat a large frying pan or shallow pot over a medium temperature and roast all the almonds until golden brown. Use as described above. Heat 30-45 ml (2-3 tbsp) olive oil in the same frying pan and brown the stuffed neck on both sides. Remove and set aside. Sauté the onions until golden brown, stir in apricots, wine and sherry and place meat on top of the onions. Season to taste and sprinkle over the sage. Pot-roast meat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until just cooked through and still juicy. Remove meat and keep warm, increase the stove temperature and simmer the pan juices and onions for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Kettle braai: Prepare the neck as in the recipe above. Prepare the kettle braai with about 30 briquettes in each coal holder. Start roasting the pork when a thin layer of ash forms on the briquettes. Roast for the same amount of time as indicated for the oven roasting, in Step 4. 

This Pork neck with sage and apricots recipe was developed for my first cookbook Onthoukos, Image by Adriaan Vorster.

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