Italian Slow Roast Shoulder of Pork


IMG_1794Shoulder of Pork is another ‘cheap’ cut of meat which lends itself to slow cooking.  Treated properly, this can make the most amazing roast dinner, requiring very little effort once it’s gone in the oven.  The fatty layers mean the meat does’t need basting as it cooks, and doesn’t need covering.  The Italian spin from the lemon, herbs and fennel add a wonderful dimension, which carries through to the gravy.  The result is a succulent, moist roast pork joint which just falls apart as it’s carved.  Use any leftovers for pulled-pork sandwiches

I served this for my ‘3rd Christmas Dinner Menu’ of 2013 as the centrepiece of an Italian themed celebratory feast, and I have to say it was spectacular.  The best Christmas dinner of the year!  Yet another cut of meat sourced form our local farm shop at a terrific price (only around £14!), served with a selection of dishes to celebrate the best of Italian food

Note: By definition, slow cooking takes time.  You’ll need to start this at least 6 hours before you want to serve up

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 3 Onions, halved
  • 3 Carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 sicks Celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt
  • a handful of fresh herbs – Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, or a mix
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2.8kg joint Shoulder of Pork (bone-out weight)
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • Hot Water
  • Salt & Pepper to season

Method

  • Grind the fennel, herbs, lemon zest and salt roughly, then add the olive oil and mash well together
  • Prepare a roasting tin and lay the vegetables in the bottom to form a trivet on which to rest the meat
  • If it’s not already been done by the butcher, take a sharp knife and score the rind in order to release the fat and make the crackling.  Be careful not to cut all the way through to the meat
  • Take the herby oil and rub it all over the pork, ensuring it gets into the cuts in the skin as well as all over the flesh
  • Lay the meat on top of the veg trivet.  Pour any remaining herb oil over the top
  • Uncovered, bake at 220oC for 30 minutes to start to cook off the fat then turn down to 140oC Fan for 4 ½ hours
  • Check periodically – the meat should be tender.  At such a low temperature, it’s quite difficult to overcook this cut of pork.
  • After the long slow cook, turn the heat up to 180oC fan for 20-30 minutes to crisp up the crackling
  • Remove the meat from the oven to a plate or carving board and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes, meanwhile, prepare the gravy
  • The pork will have lost a lot of fat.  This needs to be carefully drained away from the roasting tin.  You won’t be able to get it all out, but this isn;t a problem
  • Mash the remains of the veg up with a fork and push the solids to one end of the tray.  Tip the tray to drain any remaining fat to the other end
  • Add the flour and stir in well to the fat.  Gradually start to whisk in the water carefully to prevent lumps from forming.  You can expect to use around 500-600ml of water
  • Place the  tray on the hob ad heat through, carefully mixing in all of the crushed veg and trying to lift off any burnt bits from the tray
  • The gravy will start to thicken as it comes to the boil.  Check seasoning and add extra water if required
  • Strain gravy through a sieve and serve with the pork
  • Once fully rested the meat should be very succulent and falling apart as it’s carved
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