If you’ve never had slow roasted pork, prepare for a taste sensation! Slow roasting brings out the natural flavour and sweetness of the pork and the result is really tender and utterly delicious meat. This is always a great favourite too with those who like a nice piece of crackling – and who doesn’t? Don’t be put off at the thought of something taking 6 hours to cook – that actual work involved takes no more than a few minutes. In fact it’s a really good dish to choose if you have a busy day but still want an impressive dinner at the end of it.
- 2kg bone-in shoulder of pork, skin on
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 red onions, halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
- 2 sticks of celery, halved
- 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
- 6-8 fresh bay leaves
- 600ml water or vegetable stock
Preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
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. (We’ll do this part for you if you like – just ask!)
Rub salt right into all the scores, pulling the skin apart a little if you need to. 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 170°C/325 F/gas3, cover the pork snugly with a double layer of tin foil, pop back in the oven and roast for a further 4 and a half hours.
Take out of the oven take the foil off, and baste the meat with the fat in the bottom of the tray. Carefully lift the pork up and transfer to a chopping board. Spoon all but a couple of tablespoons of fat out (save it for roast potatoes!)
Add all the veg, garlic and bay leaves to the tray and stir them into the fat. Place the pork back on top of everything and return to the oven without the foil to roast for another hour. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender.
Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover again with tin foil and leave to rest while you make your gravy.
Spoon away any fat in the tray, then add the water or stock and place the tray on the hob. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to scrape up all those lovely sticky tasty bits on the bottom of the tray. When you’ve got a nice, dark gravy,pour it through a sieve into a bowl or gravy boat, using your spoon to really push all the goodness of the veg through the sieve. Add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it.
Serve the pork and crackling with your jug of gravy and some lovely roast potatoes.
As a treat you can try roasting them in the fat you spooned out of your roasting tray. Some stewed red cabbage and a dollop of apple sauce will finish this off perfectly.
We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Handweavers Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, Rathmines and Swords in Dublin. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers