Snap, crackle and pork

I love a proper Sunday roast dinner. Mainly the meat doesn’t matter although chicken tends to be the family’s least favourite. Today we have a shoulder of pork. One of the things I really enjoy about this is once it is all prepped, its slow cooked for 3-4 hours so we can go to the pub for a cheeky pint!

What trimmings to go with Sunday dinner then? Everyone has different ideas, anything with cheese sauce is banned in this house. Proper gravy is one absolute requirement, roast potatoes are another must. After that it depends on mood and what’s available. Today the pork is going to be served with both the above plus roast parsnips, roast carrots, steamed leek, broccoli and peas, apple sauce and stuffing. To make life easier, everything getting roasted will be going into the roasting tin, under the meat, all the other veg will go in the steamer and the apple sauce will be made in advance as will the stuffing mixture.


So what to do first? Get the meat out to come up to room temperature. For pork, pat the layer of fat dry with a paper towel then rub with salt and oil, this will help it to make good crackling. Peel potatoes, parsnips and carrots or whatever roasting veg you are using. Place in the bottom of the roasting tray and make sure well coated in oil, the veg does not need to be swimming in oil, just coated then season with salt and pepper. Pop the pork on top of this, with the layer of fat at the top. Place in the oven at Gas Mark 7 for 30 minutes. Use this time to start making apple sauce and stuffing.


Apple sauce: Peel two Bramley apples, chop and add to a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Put on a low heat and cook for 5-10 minutes, keep an eye on it as this can go from raw to puree in a blink of an eye. Once all the apple is soft add 25g of butter and a teaspoon of sugar and stir well. This will make a smooth apple sauce that is not too sweet. You can add more sugar if you prefer.


Stuffing: I do use shop bought stuffing quite a lot, it is easy enough to make your own but I tend to adapt a small shop bought packet now. Make breadcrumbs with one slice of bread by whizzing in a blender, put a packet of stuffing in a jug or bowl, add your breadcrumbs and now add in anything else you want, for me that is normally any extra herbs I have lying around plus cooled, finely chopped fried mushrooms, a spoonful of red onion marmalade (or the caramelized red onions from the Very Lazy range of jars) and a little balsamic vinegar. Now make up and cook according to packet instructions but be aware you may need to add a little more water. I usually find about an extra 50ml covers it but that’s partly because the instructions tend to make it sloppier than I like anyway.


Put both these aside and hopefully the meat has just about been sizzling for 30 minutes now. Turn down to Gas Mark 2 and forget about it for 3 hours. Prepare the veg to go in the steamer and put to one side. Go to pub.

After 3 hours, check the meat. If you have thermometer, check the internal temperature has reach 60 degrees, this Knorr guide is very useful for various meats and their temperatures. Remove from oven when cooked. Turn oven back up to Gas Mark 7. Remove meat from roasting tray, pour off (and keep) any extra meat juices and fat, stir the veg and put back in the oven to finish crisping up. Also put in the stuffing at this point. Start the vegetables in the steamer going too. Make up some vegetable or pork stock.


About 10 minutes before everything else is ready make your gravy. I make it the same way as I did here except I add whatever wine we are drinking with dinner so it could be white instead of red. I also try to supplement the stock with some water from the steamer. As this is likely to be quite a pale gravy, I add a drop of browning liquid to make it appear darker.

By now everything should be ready so all that remains is to dish up and enjoy!


As an aside, slow cooked pork is the only roast where I cook everything together and do not parboil the potatoes, that’s another blog for another time.


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