Slow-roasted pork with fennel

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Ingredients

Serves 4-6

 

  • 2kg pork shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Maldon Sea Salt
  • 400ml cider
  • 200ml water (if needed)

Timings

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours 40 minutes

Slow-roasted pork with fennel

I made this for friends a few years ago. At the time, my friend asked for the recipe and has cooked it often, always saying, ‘oh my goodness, I did your pork again – it is sublime!’ I had forgotten about it but it sounded so good that in the end I had to ask her for the recipe back. Oh my goodness – it is so good. Don’t be scared of the cooking time… it is what slow cooking is all about. As it slow-cooks the flavours infuse into the meat and the callogen breaks down – essentially, it cooks itself,Β  allowing you to enjoy time out of the kitchen.

Method

Preheat the oven to 220/425/gas 7.

Heat up a small pan and dry roast the fennel, cumin and cinnamon for 3 minutes, or until they start to pop. Add in the ginger and two pinches of salt and remove from the heat. Pour the roasted spices into a pestle and mortar and pound. Add the garlic and ginger and pound some more, until you have a rough paste. Don’t worry about grounding the cinnamon sticks down to a fine paste as you can pick these out… bashing them about to release their flavour will be enough.

With a sharp knife finely score the fat of the pork. Even if it is scored already, go over it again and make sure that each part has lovely thin lines. This is what will make good crackling.

Rub the spices into the sides and bottom of the meat, not the skin otherwise this will add too much moisture and you won’t get that gorgeous cracking.

Rub the skin dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Roast the pork for 30 minutes.

Turn down the heat to 140/275/gas 1. Add the bottle of cider, taking care not to splash the skin or meat. Cook for 3 hours 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. While it is resting, boil up the sauce and reduce it by a third. Reducing means boiling rapidly on a high heat. As the liquid boils off, the sauce will reduce and intensify. Taste for seasoning.

Serve with sweet potato mash and tenderstem broccoli in the Autumn and Winter, and Puy lentils and a green salad in the Spring and Summer.

Save any left overs for the leftover pork curry!

DOWNLOAD OR PRINT RECIPE HERE.

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I love a slow-roast on the weekend. Prepare it, pop it in the oven, let it do it’s thing throughout the day and let the house fill with the aromas of what’s to come. There’s usually leftover of some description which can be added to another meal up to 5 nights afterwards. I’ve added a quick, vegetable-dense super-quick pork curry recipe if you’d like to use that. Or bag and label, and pop it in the freezer for when you need a quick dinner. Defrost, fry off the meat and have alongside a slaw and flavoured yoghurt for a delicious no-fuss meal.”

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