Sunday, March 15, 2009

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

They key to this dish is to buy the best pork you can find. Rare or traditional breeds, free to roam and live happy lives. Try to shop at the source, the farm shop, or at farmers’ markets. Do not buy factory farm reared meat—ever, if you can help it. Simply put it, is a mean way to treat animals, and the resulting meat lacks flavour.

1, one and a half kilo (3 and ½ pounds) pork shoulder roast, boneless and rolled with crackling if possible
Fresh rosemary twigs
Sea salt
Chicken stock, apple juice, white wine or a combination

1) Pre-heat the oven to 150C, 325F. Place the roast into a baking dish that is just slightly larger than the roast (2 inches perimeter of space around the roast). Tuck the rosemary under the crackling as best you can. If you are not using crackling, tuck the twigs under the butcher’s twine circling the roast. Rub the whole roast with sea salt (over top of the crackling and all over the meat). Pour the chicken stock, apple juice or white wine into the pan so that it comes halfway up the roast. Cover with aluminium foil and place in the oven. Braise for 3 hours. Check to make sure that there is still plenty of liquid—add water if necessary. After 3 hours, remove the foil, turn the oven up to 180C (350F) and roast for 1 hour more—this will allow the roast to brown up. You can also toss in some fingerling or French potatoes now to roast in the juices.

2) Remove from the oven, cover with a foil tent or a clean dish towel and allow the roast to rest for 30 minutes. When ready to eat, remove the crackling and brake up to serve alongside the meat. Scrape any fat and all of the rosemary off the roast and discard. Attempt to slice the meat—but it will be meltingly tender at this point and falling apart, it will come off in savoury chunks.

Skim all of the fat from the pan and discard. Serve the remaining cooking juices alongside the roast. It is liquid gold. Serves 6

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