Complex, you would think? A gorgeous hunk of meat, that is full of flavour and moisture. A HUGE and gorgeous hunk of meat.
Complex? No. All it requires is your time, your patience, your oven, and a good cut of meat supplied by your local friendly butcher. That’s it!
Mine had some extra complexities. That probably won’t surprise you. These were not the fault of the pig, or the oven, the oils, or any attendant spices. The issue my friends, was my accent.
The most complex thing about it was ordering it. I called my butcher in advance and ordered a shoulder of pork, bone in. He had explained previously that I would need to order it in advance, as they rarely have bone in joints on the premises. I wanted the bone in, as it would help retain the moisture over a slow roasting time and would retain much more flavour.
Bone in, my butcher repeated. I had discussed it with them last time I was in the shop, so satisfied that the joint was ordered, I hung up. I called the next day to check they had it. In fact they had three. Huh? Three? I thought they never had any? They did, he said. I checked, bone in? And he said, no, you asked for bone out. Sigh. So, we started again. I called the next evening but he couldn’t understand me, so I went on faith, in the hope that this time my pork shoulder would be there. That evening I successfully collected 4 kgs of pork shoulder with the bone in, and lugged it home.
And that was the difficult bit completed. Cooking it was easy. I didn’t need to cut the skin with a knife as my butcher had already done it for me. I first poured some boiling water over the skin to help the crackling plump up, just a brief splash, and then dried it with some kitchen paper. I crushed some sea salt and fennel seeds in my pestle and mortar and rubbed it all over the pork and into the grooves between the cut skin, then placed it in a roasting tray in a hot oven (220 degrees celsius) for half an hour. I then covered the roasting tray with a double layer of foil, and lowered the temperature to 170 degrees celsius for 5 hours, basting occasionally. I then removed the foil and roasted it for a further half hour, to crisp the skin even more. I rested it for half an hour and then we tucked in.
And there you go. Delicious and simple. There’s lots of i’s in that recipe, but that’s how I did it, and it’s a story more than an instructive recipe.
Pork shoulder in khobez flatbreads with salad. I’ll be making it again. Only I’ll make more next tiem so that there’s lots of leftovers!