This little piggy went in my tummy [roast shoulder of pork]


Good ol’ Jamie was on the BBC breakfast programme this week telling us about his new mission to raise awareness about how pigs are being raised in Europe. While in the UK our porkers are raised in relatively good conditions, E.U. legislation is not so uncompromising, and the poor swines, and in particular pregant sows, are kept in horrendous conditions – for the period of gestation (3 months or so) they are kept in pens that don’t enable them to turn round, walk, go to the post office…nothing. Terrible really. So, in the real spirit of Jamie-ness, from this day forth let’s all make a concerted effort to buy British pork.

I am lucky enough to have oinkers at home rooting around in the forest garden, chomping down leftovers and having happy, organic, outdoor upbringings, and so the freezer in Bristol is groaning with sausages and pork chops and bellies and shoulders…a real treat. Cuts like shoulder and belly are really cheap too, British or not. It shouldn’t be difficult to eat British (and there are environmental implications too, of course). This recipe is fab with pickled red cabbage, beetroot, anything really.

Roast shoulder of pork

Serves 4

1 rolled, boned, shoulder of pork, about 1.4kg
Salt, pepper and olive oil

It’s important with any cooking, if at all possible, that you take the ingredients out of the fridge a good hour before you start cooking. Part of the reason, I think, that people find recipes don’t work is because they are putting a freezing cold piece of meat into the oven…inevitably this elongates cooking time…

Anyway…preheat the oven to full whack. Score the skin with a sharp knife several at 1 inch intervals or so. This helps to render the fat and get really good crackling. Season the joint copiously with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Sling in the oven and turn the heat down immediately to 170C. Cook for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and pop on a warm plate to rest while you make your gravy. Degrease the pan by pouring off any excess fat, then put it over a fairly rigorous heat. Pour in some booze (cider, wine, marsala – whatever is kicking about really) and some stock and simmer for five minutes.

Carve the pork and serve with the crackling and your vegetables – a bit of apple sauce would be nice too.

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