This is one of those mega meals that’s just perfect for a lazy Sunday. The beginning of the story is the night before if you want it for lunch, or early in the morning if you want it for dinner. It’s a real joy, and with the right portion control, in my eyes, is not a bad thing. My nutrition ninjas aren’t very happy about it, because it’s a day and a half’s worth of your recommended allowance of saturated fat, but for me it’s simple – just make sure you lighten up your breakfast and lunch, then you can go to heaven for dinner.
Preheat the oven to full whack (240oC/475oF/gas 9). Toss the reserved pork skin in a little oil and sea salt (you can either slice it into long, thin strips or leave as one piece), lay it flat on a tray and roast until perfectly golden and crisp, keeping a close eye on it, then remove.
Peel the onions, then cut into wedges with the apples. Trim and roughly chop the celery and break the garlic bulb into cloves. Scatter it all in your largest roasting tray with the sage and bay leaves, pour in the cider and add a good splash of water. Bash the fennel seeds, cloves, dried chillies and 1 heaped teaspoon of salt to a fine dust in a pestle and mortar, then massage all over the pork with a drizzle of oil. Sit the pork in the tray, cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil, place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 130oC/250oF/gas 1⁄2. Roast for 10 to 12 hours, or until the meat pulls easily away from the bone, then remove from the oven and cover with a couple of clean tea towels to keep warm.
Turn the oven up to 200oC/400oF/gas 6. Peel the potatoes, then cut lengthways into wedges along with the fennel. Parboil in a couple of pans of boiling salted water – the potatoes for 7 minutes and the fennel for 6 – then drain, leave to steam dry completely, and place in a large, high-sided roasting tray (25cm x 35cm).
Peel the garlic and blitz until fine with the anchovies, rosemary leaves and a good splash of boiling water in a blender. Finely grate in half the nutmeg and most of the Parmesan and pour in the cream. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, blitz again, then pour over the veg. Grate over the remaining Parmesan and bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
Serve everything in the middle of the table with a whole load of simply steamed seasonal greens. You’ll get a natural brothy gravy underneath the pork – reduce it on the hob before serving, if desired.
Freshen this up with a zingy salsa. Chop 2 eating apples into fine matchsticks and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Pick, roll up and finely slice the leaves from ½ a bunch of fresh mint and toss into the bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Simple.
Recipe taken from Jamie’s Comfort Food, published by Michael Joseph. Recipe © Jamie Oliver. Photography © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited 2014, by David Loftus.
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