A delicious way of slow-roasting pork. The style is probably the closest you will be able to come to cooking 'Tuscan Porchetta' at home, unless you have the wherewithal to roast a whole suckling pig.
For 8 generous helpings:
- A shoulder of pork of about 3kg (6lb 12oz), boned by your butcher, rolled and tied - ask your butcher to score the rind as closely together as he can, to make cracking
- 2 level tablespoons (30ml) Fennel seeds
- 6 big cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) coarse Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon crushed chilis
- the juice of 2 small or one big lemon
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) Olive Oil
- 180ml (6 fl oz) Dry White Wine
Equipment needed: A large roasting tray, with a rack
- Preheat the oven to 230º/450º/Gas mark 8.
- Grind the fennel seeds, sea salt, peppercorns and chilis together with a pestle
- and mortar. Add the garlic cloves and pound into a rough paste.
- Using your hands, smother the paste over the pork, working it into the slits between the fat.
- Place the pork on a rack in the roasting tin.
- Cook, skin-side-up, for half an hour, then remove from the oven and turn the heat right down to 120ºC/250º/Gas mark ½.
- Turn the joint over, and pour half the lemon juice and the olive oil over it.
- Return it to the oven and cook for 7 hours - it should sound as though it's gently sizzling.
- Every two hours, remove the meat from the oven, and baste it with the juices in the bottom of the pan.
- After six hours, remove any excess fat from the tray and squeeze the remaining lemon juice of the meat.
- After seven hours reset the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 7.
- Transfer the meat, skin side up, to a clean, ovenproof dish and, when the oven is hot, put it back to crisp up the crackling for 20 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and leave it to rest.
- Pour off any excess fat from the original roasting tray and add the white wine and 180ml (6 fl oz) water.
- Heat gently, on top of the cooker, scratching off any sticky residue, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain, and keep warm.
- Carve the roast into thick slices, serving each helping with a little juice.
The dish is excellent as part of a buffet, and any leftovers make good sandwich fillers.