This is a classic way to cook a great Sunday roast with crispy crackling and meat that just falls apart due to the long cooking process. 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 is not the kind of joint you carve into neat slices. If you have cooked it right, it should pull apart into shreds with a couple of forks. If you are worried about scoring the crackling yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you, that’s what he’s there for!
2 kg good quality shoulder of pork, with bone left in or out (up to you) and the skin left on
freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions, halved
2 large carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
2 sticks of celery, halved
1 bulb garlic, skin on, and broken into their separate cloves
6-8 bay leaves
6 sprigs of rosemary
600ml of quality vegetable stock (don’t use stock cubes unless you have to)
Preheat your oven to 220°C (200 for fan)/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. If the joint is tied, try not to cut through the string. Rub salt right into all the scores you’ve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you need to. The best way to do this is ask your butcher to do it for you!
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 (150 for fan)/325°F/gas 3, cover the pork with a double layer of tinfoil so it holds all the steam in. Place it back in the oven and roast for a further 4 and a half hours.
Take it 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.
Add all the veg, garlic, rosemary sprigs and bay leaves to the tray and stir them into the remaining 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 tinfoil and leave to rest while you make your gravy. Spoon away any fat in the tray, then add the vegetable stock and place the tray on to the hob over a high heat. 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 have 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.
I prefer to serve my pork with a creamy mash and some cabbage fried with some lardons (using some of the pork fat removed earlier) just so the cabbage wilts but remains very crunchy, but boiled cabbage works well if you want to leave out the fatty lardons.