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24hour roast pork with chilli, lemon, garlic and rosemary

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When I read this recipe (by Sophie Grigson) in the Waitrose magazine Food Illustrated, I was most intrigued by the idea of such very slow and gentle cooking, and I simply had to try it. I'm so glad I did: it's absolutely delicious, and well repays the patience required to wait the full 24 hours for it to cook to perfection.

The recipe says it will feed 8-10 people (they'd have to be on a self-denying ordinance). I made half quantities for the two of us. We were very greedy, but still had a nice big chunk leftover.

3kg joint of boned, rolled pork shoulder (or you could use leg)
2 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
zest of half a lemon, cut into thin strips
a sprig of rosemary, leaves only
2 red chillies, deseeded and cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

One whole day before you intend to eat your 24hour roast pork, preheat oven to 220C/gas mark 7 (200C for a fan-assisted oven).

Score the skin of the pork with a sharp knife.  

Make small slits in the meaty side of the pork.  Pick up one tiny thin sliver of lemon peel, one tiny thin sliver of chilli and one ditto of garlic, then one single rosemary leaf, making a pretty little bouquet.   Stuff one of these bundles into each slit you make in the meat.  If you find this difficult, try using a pointed implement to push the bundle into the cut: a skewer or the pointy end of a chopstick, for example.  Continue this at random until you've used up all the prepared stuff.

Dry the rind carefully, then rub the olive oil all over the joint and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the pork, skin side up, for 30 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 110C/gas mark half.  My oven is fan-assisted, so I put it onto 100C.

Now, leave it alone for 23 hours, basting every couple of hours (except when you're asleep; don't worry - it survives very well).

When time is up, drain off the fat from the roasting tin.  Put the joint onto a serving dish and allow to rest for 20 minutes in the oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar.

Meanwhile, make the gravy:  add a glassful of white wine to the meat drippings in the roasting tin.  With a spoon or the side of a fork, deglaze the pan, fragmenting any large lumps of meat residues and turning it into gravy. Pour the gravy into a jug which has been warmed in the oven.

When you're ready to eat, remove the skin from the joint in one big sheet and cut it into bits of crackling to serve with the meat.  The meat will be so well-cooked that the best way to serve it is to use a spoon and fork to break off great juicy lumps.  Serve it up with its gravy and a bowl of apple sauce (made of two Bramley apples cooked for about 10 minutes in about 4 tablespoonsful of water - watch that this doesn't dry out, and add more water if required). 

Accompaniments should be simple - the pork is the star of the show.

Quite, quite delicious!


7 comments to this

ramtops said on 18 Dec 2006 at 09:44:25:

did you really do *3 kg* of pork for this? I want to do it for Christmas Eve, but it's a humungous lump of pig, and I don't want to be eating it forever!

sasha said on 18 Dec 2006 at 10:14:05:

It is a big lump, certainly, and my guess is that the recipe calls for such a weight of raw meat because it reduces fairly dramatically over the course of 24hrs. When we last cooked it, three of us ate it and we had some left over, but not so much that it couldn't readily be used.

sasha said on 18 Dec 2006 at 10:14:53:

PS I recommend using rather thicker strips of chilli and lemon peel than recommended. We found the flavour a bit too subtle.

windimiller said on 21 Mar 2007 at 12:44:29:

Can anyone tell me whether you're supposed to 'tent' it (and risk rubbery crackling?). If not, doesn't the meat dry out completely after 24 hours?

sasha said on 21 Mar 2007 at 13:21:38:

Surprisingly, there's no need to tent or otherwise cover the meat. It is quite a fatty cut, and the skin (crackling) protects and lubricates the meat.

danadooley said on 25 Mar 2008 at 07:08:37:

Wow, I think this would taste quite amazing, given the seasonings and the cooking method. Certainly different, to say the least. I think I might try this for Christmas this year. Thanks for posting this.

jante said on 26 Dec 2008 at 16:16:24:

We had this for Christmas day just for a change, It was delicous, I would definately make it again, although I would probably use thicker strips of chilli and lemon rind next time. Fab!

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