Sunday is our family day – it’s the one whole day we’re all together in the week. Cooking on Sundays is one of my favourite things as I have time. I have to say that I tend to be a lazy cook during the week as, like most people, whether working or homemaking, find time is at a premium. Therefore, the Sunday roast serves another purpose – I cook for leftovers. If saves time and roasts also make dripping.
I realise it’s a controversial subject but dripping holds an amazing amount of flavour. Our grandparents used it all the time but a lot of people are concerned about saturated fat levels and rightly so with issues like obesity and heart disease. If you cook fresh food as opposed to eating processed foods, fast foods or takeaways, using a little dripping with whole fresh ingredients will result in much less saturated fat than in the processed alternative. Using one small teaspoon of dripping to start your stew or soup is the best stock cube you could wish for.
One of my favourite big roasts is a slow roasted shoulder of pork. I usually use half a shoulder as it will weigh about 4.5kg. I save this for Sundays when family or friends might be visiting as it will feed 8 including extra for all-important left overs.
Also shoulder of pork is very economical. Buy the best pork you can. I have a few tips.
- Firstly find a butcher that handles whole carcases as these will be able to give you a shoulder in the first place, and it will probably be fairly local. Secondly, they will be able to give you a shoulder with skin on and bone in, a must for crackling and flavour.
- If your butcher handles whole free-range pork, it is probably local and you may be surprised at how little extra you have to pay to go free-range.
- Remember that the more off-beat cuts such as shoulder, belly or hocks that require that extra bit of time and care are the less sought after cuts and are therefore cheaper. Get the best you can for your money – it’s out there, especially if you’re a willing and eager cook. You won’t be disappointed – think of the leftovers!
Slow roasted shoulder of pork – they don’t call it slow for nothing as you will need 5-6 hours.
You will need:
- 1 x 4.5kg half shoulder of pork – bone in , skin on and scored at 1cm intervals
- I heaped tablespoon fennel seeds
- Olive oil
- 3 onions
- 10 bay leaves
- 4 apples – skinned, deseeded and halved
- 2 red onions
- 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
What to do:
- Take the pork out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 220⁰C/425⁰F/gas 7.
- Crush the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of sea salt and pepper.
- Rub all over the pork with a good glug of oil making sure to get well into the scores.
- Roast for 1½ hours.
- Meanwhile peel and quarter the onions.
- When the time is up, pour away all the fat (or transfer when cool to a jam jar to keep as dripping in the fridge).
- Reduce oven to 130⁰C/250⁰F/Gas ½
- Put the onions and bay leaves under the pork in the tray. Pour in 750ml water and cook for 2 hours.
- Baste with tray juices and add the halved apples to the tray with a little water if required.
- Roast for a further 2 hours until the meat pulls away from the bone freely.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a plate with the apples and cover.
- Put the roasting tray, with onions on a medium heat on the hob and stir in the flour. You should have plenty of liquid to make gravy. Add the pork resting juices. Stir well and simmer until a good consistency is reached. Pour through a sieve into a jug.
- Serve everything together with seasonal greens along with your own usual trimmings.
- Don’t forget to make good use of the leftovers during the week!
Published in The Western People – 14th September 2015