Pork shoulder is an incredibly forgiving piece of meat: it is almost impossible to overcook, so leave it as long as it takes you to do whatever else you need to do. The secret to the flavour is the aromatic rub, made from fennel seeds, rosemary, thyme and chilli flakes. And the secret to the crackling is to whack up the heat in the oven before serving. We’ve cooked this in a slow-cooker, but you can also use a casserole dish with a tight-fidding lid. Follow the same instructions but cook in the oven at 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 for 3-4 hours.
- Half boneless shoulder of pork, with a thick layer of fat and scored skin
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1tbsp fennel seeds
- 1tbsp dried rosemary
- 1tbsp dried thyme
- 1tsp dried chilli flakes
- Couple of glugs of olive oil
- 1tsp sea salt
- 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
Open up the pork shoulder and lay it on a work surface, skin-side down. With a sharp knife, make deep slashes into the flesh.
Put the rest of the ingredients into a pestle & mortar and pound to a thick paste.
Rub half the paste into the exposed flesh of the pork. Tie the pork up into a tight roll with three pieces of butcher’s string. Run the other half of the paste over the skin.
Set a slow cooker on low. Place the pork inside – you won’t need any other liquid – then cook for 6-7 hours until the meat is tender.
Remove from the slow cooker and drain the fat and juices into a mug. Place the mug in the fridge so that the fat solidifies, making it easier to scoop off. Once you’ve scooped the fat off, transfer the juices to a small saucepan and bring to the boil to mae a very savoury gravy.
Transfer the porchetta to a foil-lined roasting tin and pat the skin dry. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 6 then cook the porchetta for 30-40 mins, until the skin turns to crackling.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 mins then carve into thick slices.
Top tip for making Porchetta
Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Wrap a whole bulb of garlic in tin foil and roast in a low oven for 1 hour until the cloves become puree soft in their skins, then squeeze into boiled potatoes and mash with butter.