It’s been far too long since I featured any recipes on the blog. Hopefully this post goes some small way to rectifying matters. Here’s something simple, but very decent we served to our guests this past weekend, at ‘The Basement’, the Bristol supper club I run with ‘E’.
Shoulder of pork is a fairly inexpensive cut, and doesn’t really need a hell of a lot doing with it, apart from a few timely interventions, it can be left to it’s own devices for hours in the oven until it’s practically falling apart and of course, there’s the added bonus of crackling, to really give those fillings a good workout.
A thick slab of tender pork, partnered with the almost rasping, herby pungency of green sauce. An aesthetically pleasing dollop of creamy mashed potato and finally, a spoonful of the porky-cidery cooking juices. You have an absolutely winning plate of food.
The Green sauce recipe is from St John. The mashed potato recipe is my own.
I am a total mash potato fiend and have gradually perfected what I modestly consider to be second only (just) to Joel Robuchon’s famous pureed pomme. Tried and tested at countless ‘Basement’s. This is the first time I’ve shared it with anyone.
Slow Roast Shoulder of Pork in Cider
1.5 kilo pork shoulder, boned, rolled, skin scored.
1 bulb garlic, broken up into cloves. (leave the skin on)
6 bay leaves
750ml dry cider
2 tbsp fennel seeds, bashed
Preheat the oven to 220C
Pat dry the pork with kitchen towel and place in a deep ovenproof dish
Shower it liberally with the fennel seeds, sea salt and black pepper. Be generous, giving it a good-old-all-over-rub-in.
Cook in the oven for 40 mins.
Remove from the oven, and transfer the pork momentarily to a plate.
Drain off the excess fat from the ovenproof dish and toss in the bay leaves and garlic cloves.
Place the pork back in its rightful place, and pour the cider around the sides of it.
Cover with foil and return to the oven at 160C. Cook for three-four hours (most likely four).
By this time, the pork should smell amazing and be practically falling apart.
Don’t forget to leave it to rest, covered in foil for about 20 mins before serving.
If the crackling is soft, take it off and put it in on a tray, in the oven at 220C for 10 mins. It should crisp up.
It’d also be a good idea to ladle off some of the porky cider juices from the pan, pour into a saucepan, boiling vigorously, reducing to make a nice syrupy gravy to pour over your meat when you serve up.
Of course, while all this was going on, and your pork was cooking away in the oven for hours, you had ample time to knock up your accompanying green sauce and mashed potato.
Serves 6 (generously)
Half a bunch of curly parsley
Half a bunch of flat leaf parsley
Half a bunch of mint
A quarter bunch of dill
Couple of sprigs of tarragon leaves
1 small tin of anchovy fillets – finely chopped
12 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 handful of capers, roughly chopped (if extra fine, keep whole).
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice (optional)
Chop the herbs finely, but not too finely, by hand (if you blitz them up by mechanical means, you’ll end up with a slurry).
Mix with the anchovy, garlic and capers. Add olive oil until it’s a loose, spoonable consistency. Season with black pepper and salt if it needs some.
Diverging a little from the original St John recipe, we added a squeeze of lemon juice at the end.
Dan’s Famous Mashed Potato
Serves 6 (Easily)
9 maris piper potatoes
400ml full fat milk
12 tbsp double cream (180ml)
Freshly ground white Pepper
Peel and dice the potatoes into rough 2cm cubes.
Place in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, add salt and simmer for 12 minutes or until tender.
Drain well, and then using a potato ricer crush back into the empty pan. (If you don’t have a ricer, get one, they’re awesome. Otherwise, mash wildly in a traditional fashion with lots of elbow grease…. don’t leave any lumps).
Put the pan back on a low heat, for two minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
In a separate saucepan, heat the milk till it’s almost boiling. Gradually pour into your potatoes, stirring it in.
Add the cream. Keep stirring whilst on the heat, for three or four mins.
Turn the hob off.
Cut the butter into cubes, and gradually stir into your mash until it’s been absorbed.
Taste and season generously with salt and white pepper. The choice of pepper is important, mash must have white pepper. Don’t ask why, just accept it.
Your mash should be creamy and oozy, but still form a nice generous dollop when slapped onto a plate.
Do this now.
Place a generous, inch thick slab of pork astride it, at a jaunty angle. Spoon some green sauce over the pork, drizzle over a tablespoonful or so of your reduced cider cooking juices. Don’t forget the crackling.
Eat it all up.