Low-and-slow is the ONLY way to cook Christmas pork. Shoulder, on-the-bone, will give you depth of flavour, succulence, meltingly tender, uber-delicious meat and the best crackling ever. If that vibes with you, then THIS is the recipe for you! And if you want a stress-free Christmas morning, then this absolutely the recipe for you – a big plus is that the gravy makes itself and is grain-free!
The recipe is one of Jamie Oliver’s and I’ve added my own take of crushed fennel seeds and black pepper to the seasoning for the crackling. Pork and fennel is an Italian marriage of flavours and so, SO YES! I think Jamie would approve.
No, it’s not a neat and tidy carving job, but oh my goodness…
“Leaving the bone in adds a bit of extra flavour and having a layer of fat helps to keep the meat nice and moist as it roasts. This isn’t the kind of joint you carve into neat slices. If you’ve cooked it right, it should pull apart into shreds with a couple of forks.”
[Recipe & image credit: Jamie Oliver
Pasture-raised meats, dairy, eggs and wild caught fish have a vastly superior nutritional profile, as do organic, or cleanly grown grains, fruits and vegetables. Please try to source your food as well as you are able.
Jamie's 6 Hour Slow Roast Pork Shoulder (+ MY Fennel Crackling!)
This slow roast is absolutely delicious and stress free. It's not the sort of joint that you carve into neat slices, it's far too meltingly tender! And the fennel crackling is to die for!
As soon as you bring it home, unwrap the pork and dry the skin well. Leave it loosely wrapped in the fridge so the skin can dry out overnight. At least an hour before you want to cook it, take the pork out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 (If you have a fan oven, lower the cooking temperatures by 10-20 degrees).
Place the pork on a clean work surface, skin-side up. Get yourself a small sharp knife and make scores about 1cm 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. If you're worried about this, just ask the butcher to score it for you, but ask for the 1cm scores - the crackling will be easier to break.
Mix the sea salt, black pepper and ground fennel seeds together well. Rub the seasoning mixture right into all the scores you’ve just made. Gently pull the skin apart to make sure the mixture get right down into the fat. Brush away the excess from the surface of the rind then turn the joint over to season the underside of the meat.
Place the pork, skin-side up, in a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes, or until the skin has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling.
At this point, turn the heat down to 150-170°C/325°F/gas 3. Cover the pork snugly with 'tent' of waxed paper to protect the meat and then a double layer of tented tin foil to keep in the heat. Put the joint back into the oven and roast for a further 4½ hours.
Remove the pork from the oven, take off the waxed paper and foil, and baste the meat with the fat in the bottom of the tray. Carefully transfer to a board, then skim all but 2 tablespoons of excess fat from the tray into a jar, and keep it in the fridge for another day.
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 place back in the oven without the foil to roast for 1 further hour, or until meltingly soft and tender.
Transfer the meat to a serving dish or platter, cover again with the waxed paper and tin foil and leave to rest while you make the gravy.
If there is a lot of fat in the tray, spoon some of it away, then add the stock (or replace with water,) 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 from the bottom of the tray.
If you want a dark gravy, add a spoonful of molasses and/or a little organic cocoa powder and cook the gravy gently for a few minutes. before pouring it through a sieve into saucepan.. Use a spoon to really push all the goodness from the veg through the sieve to thicken and flavour the gravy.
Season to taste and cover. When you're ready to serve the meat bring the gravy back up to the boil and transfer to a warmed gravy boat to serve it at the table.
To serve the meat at the table, pull it gently apart and give everyone their fair share of the FABULOUS fennel crackling!