Aside from its religious significance, Easter – in my mind – marks the beginning of spring. Easter will be a bit early this year, but like most of us I am anxious to put this particularly dreary winter behind us. Hopefully, the crocuses, daffodils and (possibly) tulips will oblige.
In Mediterranean countries, Easter is a huge daylong celebration featuring roasted lamb. While a well-cooked lamb is still one of my Easter favorites, others serve ham or pork. As the prominence of the religious celebration takes away from time in the kitchen, I always search for recipes that don’t require much last minute preparation.
A long time family favorite is Jamie Oliver’s Overnight Slow-Roasted Pork. This wonderful recipe may be found in Jamie Oliver’s “Cook with Jamie” cookbook (one of my husband’s favorites), but can now be found all over the internet.
Like many of Jamie’s inspired recipes, this recipe uses very few ingredients and it is almost impossible to overcook. When something cooks this long, the flavors tend to meld together to make something quite rich and extraordinary. Jaime’s Slow Roasted Pork is a recipe that will have your guests queuing for seconds.
Overnight Roasted Pork
Yield 12 generous servings
Jamie's Oliver's overnight roasted pork has become a family tradition, particularly for parties over religious holidays where you do not have much time in the kitchen. Set the oven at a low temperature and forget it.
Jamie Oliver's Overnight Slow-Roasted Pork
- 2 tablespoon(s) fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon(s) sea or rock salt
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bulb(s) garlic, cloves unpeeled and roughly smashed
- 1 bunch(es) fresh thyme
- 1 piece(s) (11- to 13-pound) pork shoulder on the bone, preferably free-range or organic, skin scored
- Olive oil
- 750 milliliter(s) white wine
- 1 pint(s) chicken or vegetable stock
- Preheat your oven to maximum.
- Smash the fennel seeds with the salt in a pestle and mortar until fine.
- Put the roughly chopped vegetables, garlic, and thyme sprigs into a large roasting pan.
- Pat the pork shoulder with olive oil and sit it on top of the vegetables. Now massage all the smashed fennel seeds into the skin of the pork, making sure you push them right into all the scores to maximize the flavor.
- Put the pork in your preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until it's beginning to color, then turn your oven down to 250 degrees F and cook the pork for 9 to 12 hours, until the meat is soft and sticky and you can pull it apart easily with a fork.
- Tip all the wine into the roasting tray after the "overnight cook" and let it cook for another hour to give you a perfect sauce.
- Once the pork is out of the oven, let it rest for half an hour before removing it to a large board. Brush off any excess salt from the meat, then mash up the veg in the pan using a potato masher. Add the stock to the roasting pan, put it on the heat, and boil until you have a lovely, intensely-flavored gravy (you can thicken it with a little sieved flour if you like). The pork is great served with some good cranberry beans, braised greens, your roast veg mash, and tasty sauce.
Oven thermometers, particularly at low temperatures, are not very accurate. Towards the end after you add the wine, keep an eye on it so there are enough juices.
Enjoy and Happy Easter to all!