This is a fantastic recipe for mouth-wateringly tender pork and great crunchy crackling, but it does take all day to make! The original recipe was by Jamie Oliver, but I’ve adapted it to make it into a pot-roast.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 6½ hours (including resting time)
- 2kg boned shoulder of pork, skin on
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: fennel seeds and star anise
- 2 red onions, halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
- 2 sticks of celery, halved
- 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
- 2 apples or pears, halved and cored
- 6-8 fresh bay leaves
- 600ml water, vegetable stock or cider
Preheat your oven to 220°C.
Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side up. Get yourself a small sharp knife and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat. If the joint is tied, try not to cut through the string. Rub salt right into all the scores you’ve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you need to. You can also add the fennel seeds and crushed star anise at this point, ideally leaving the seasoned pork to sit in a freezer bag in the fridge overnight to absorb more of the flavours.
Brush any excess salt off the surface then turn it over. Season the underside of the meat with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Place your pork, skin-side up, in a roasting tray and pop in the preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes, until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling. At this point, turn the heat down to 140°C.
Take the pork out of the oven and create a layer in your roasting tin of the vegetables and the fruit. Add the stock and put the pork back on top. Pot-roast for a further 4 and a half hours. You can do this in a covered roasting tin or by adding a double-layer of foil over the top, sealed tight against the roasting tin. The pork will be soft and tender after this time, but don’t worry about the crackling – that will be crisped up later.
Turn the oven back up to 180°C and roast the pork and veg uncovered for a final hour. This creates the crackling.
Take out of the oven and carefully lift the pork up and transfer to a chopping board. Cover with foil and a towel and allow to rest for ½ hour in a warm place.
To make the gravy, strain the vegetables and roasting juices through a sieve and allow to sit for a minute in a bowl. Spoon/skim off the pork fat and discard. The rest is the base for your gravy. Add more water or stock as needed, thickening with arrowroot or cornflour as you wish, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the pork and crackling with your jug of gravy and some lovely roast or mashed potatoes. Some stewed red cabbage, honey-roast carrots and a dollop of apple sauce are perfect to accompany the pork.