Summer and roasts don't traditionally go hand in hand, but with Melbourne's moody weather a heat wave is often closely followed by a cool front, and that's exactly what had rolled over the city on the day we chose to make this meal. A lighter meat is ideal for a summer roast, so we chose to go with 2kgs of Berkshire rolled pork shoulder, skin on.
This recipe is ideal for a lazy Sunday afternoon. It's cooked low and slow with little effort - it's all about the quality of the meat, which we picked up from Hagen's Organics at Queen Vic Market (as well as a spanakopita for breakfast from a stall nearby). the pork from Hagen's is from McIvor Farm, it's free range, bio-dynamic and locally sourced. If you haven't experienced the difference this makes, then its probably time you give it a go! the result is superior in taste, better for the environment and supportive of local farmers - wins all round.
While we referenced Jamie Oliver's Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder, the roast was less of a recipe and more of a simple approach to a wonderful piece of meat. It took six hours in total. After preparing the meat at around 11am and putting it in the oven to crisp the skin, we only had to cover it with foil and turn the heat down at the half hour mark before letting it slowly roast for 4.5 hours. At this point, we added some vegetables and returned it to the oven for a final hour. This left us free to do household chores all day (okay and watch TV - I did say it was a lazy Sunday afternoon) until our dinner guests arrived, the heady smell of the roast pork and crackling permeating the fresh summer air, leading us to constantly voice our anticipation.
About and hour before our friends arrived at 5pm, we threw together the sides of roast wedge Desiree potatoes (perfect for chips), mushy whole roasted apples and roasted fennel topped with chilli. While the roast rested we pulled together a quick gravy from the pan juices and vegetables in the bottom of the dish. we were sitting down to dig in at around 5:30pm, a nice early dinner to wind down for work on Monday.
The pork was kept moist and tender in the oven by the layer of fat, which had turned into crunchy and crisp pork crackling. The whole roasted apples fell apart to spread over the pork, making it the perfect combination of salty, crunchy, savoury and sweet. the sweet caramelised anise flavour of the roasted fennel was offset with the slight chilli kick, and the potatoes were crunchy on the outside and as smooth as mash in the middle. The meat was so tasty that the gravy was almost not necessary, but it was a wonderful flavour booster to the meal nonetheless, especially on the potatoes. we recommend pairing this with palate cleansing light wine like a pinot gris of pinot noir to perfectly compliment the rich flavour combinations on the plate.
Needless to say, there were no leftovers. Read on for the recipe!