I love slow-cooked pork.There's something about the way that it just flakes away into incredibly tender meat and with this marinade, it has a sweet sticky dressing that caramelises the pork as it's cooking.
This recipe makes a perfect light spring supper or lunch that could be served with couscous or oven-roasted new potatoes.
Once you've prepared the pork, the oven does the work for you over six hours and you're left with the most wonderful piece of meat.
The salad, in contrast has a refreshing and slightly acidic tang to accompany the rich meat.
2kg pork shoulder
Extra virgin olive oil
2 dsrt spoons paprika
1 garlic clove (crushed)
2 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
1 dsrt spoon ground ginger
For the salad:
1 small bag of lambs lettuce
2 bulbs of chicory
1 fennel bulb
1 red onion
For the dressing:
3tbsp red wine vinegar
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 red chilli
Small handful of fresh mint
To prepare the meat:
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
Using a sharp knife, score the pork skin leaving 1cm gaps. (Try not to cut through the string if the meat is tied up.)
Next season the skin well with salt and pepper, making sure to rub the salt well into the scores that you have just made.
Then season the underside of the pork with a little salt and pepper and then add the paprika, ground ginger, crushed garlic and chinese five spice to the pork with a generous glug of olive oil.
Using your hands, rub the flavours into the meat.
Place the pork, skin-side up, in a slightly oiled roasting tray and place into the preheated oven.
Cook the pork at 200 degrees for the first 30 minutes until the skin is beginning to puff up forming the crackling and then reduce the heat to 160 degrees, wrapping the tin with two layers of tin foil to cover the pork fully.
Return the pork to the oven and cook for a further 4 hours at 160 degrees. At every hour interval, remove the pork from the oven, uncover it, and using a spoon baste the pork with the juices that have formed in the bottom of the tray.
Then, turn the oven down to 150 degrees C and cook for a further two hours, leaving the pork uncovered for the last hour.
To prepare the salad:
Finely slice the red onion and fennel bulb into thin pieces. Next, prepare the chicory and the pomegranate by removing the seeds from their case. ( I do this by holding half a pomegranate in my hand and using the back of a metal spoon to bash the top, allowing the seeds to fall through my fingers but preventing any of the bitter white pith.)
Peel your clementines and add your lambs lettuce to a large salad bowl.
To make the dressing:
Finely chop the red chilli and mint leaves and add to the red wine vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl.
The pork is ready when the crackling is crisp and golden brown and the meat is incredibly tender and will just flake away into pieces using a fork.
Pull the meat apart into small pieces and put the crackling to one side. (I don't use the crackling in this salad but save it as it's delicious!)
Remove the meat from the tray and using a spoon, stir the remaining juices round in the tin, scraping away at any of the crispy bits of pork stuck to the bottom of the pan as they are packed with flavour.
Add half of your dressing to the lambs lettuce in the salad bowl and the other half to the juices in the tray, stirring well.
Return the pork to the tray and coat it in the dressing.
Add the remaining salad ingredients to the lambs lettuce and toss together before topping with the pulled pork and the pomegranate seeds.
I served mine with a homemade cole slaw and roasted new potatoes that I parboiled for 8 minutes and then roasted in a tray with a little seasoning and olive oil for 30 mins at 200 degrees C.