Roasted confit pork shoulder

Cooked very slowly in fat, pork shoulder becomes moist and meltingly tender. Matt Tebbutt then suggests two different ways to serve it
By Matt Tebbutt
Roasted confit pork shoulder
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus overnight soaking
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • about 700 g pork or goose fat, or lard to cover, plus optional vegetable or sunflower oil for topping up if necessary
  • 1 x 3 kg pork shoulder, rind on

For the marrowfat peas

  • 500 g dried marrowfat peas, soaked overnight
  • 1 stick celery, left whole
  • 1 carrot, left whole
  • 1 onion, left whole
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme

For the cornichon vinaigrette

  • 2-3 tbsp baby cornichons, diced
  • 2 tsp baby capers
  • 1/2 sprig thyme, leaves very finely chopped
  • 50 ml sherry vinegar
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1.

2. If using goose fat, lard or another solid fat, render it first by gently melting it in a pan over a medium heat until hot and liquid. Place the pork shoulder in a deep baking dish with high sides that come up above the level of the meat, or use a large ovenproof saucepan which can contain the pork completely. Pour the liquid fat over the pork ensuring that the meat is completely covered in it. If necessary top up with more fat, or if you are worried about cost then top up with vegetable or sunflower oil. Cover the meat with foil and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

3. When the meat is really tender, remove it from the oven and leave to rest. You can serve it at this point with your choice of vegetables. Alternatively, allow the meat to cool completely in the fat, then place it in the fridge, overnight if possible. This also works well with any leftovers. If chilling it, serve the pork as described below, with marrowfat peas and vinaigrette.

4. For the marrowfat peas drain and place the peas in a large saucepan. Add fresh water to the pan enough to just about cover them along with the whole vegetables and herbs and simmer for 1 1 ½ hours, or until the peas are soft. Remove and discard the stock vegetables and herbs and squeeze the garlic flesh into the peas. The peas should be of a good dolloping consistency - if too thick, add a little more water. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as necessary.

5. For the vinaigrette mix together the cornichons, capers and thyme in a bowl. Mix in the vinegar, oil and mustard, season with salt and pepper and leave at room temperature for the flavours to infuse.

6. If you have left the pork overnight in the fat, remove the cooled confit shoulder from the fridge and lift it out of the fat, scraping off any excess. Trim the shoulder so that the edges are neat, then chop in portion-sized squares. Cut the rind into strips with a little fat left on each, then cook in a dry frying pan until crisp. Keep warm.

7. Heat a tablespoon of the confit fat in a heavy-based frying pan and place the squares of pork, fat side down, in the pan. Do this is batches if necessary. Cook until well heated through and golden but not burning. Turn the pork over and cook on the non-fat side for a further 2 minutes to heat the meat through completely. Serve the pork with the marrowfat peas, crispy rind and the cornichon vinaigrette drizzled over.

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