Tender, slow cooked pork makes a delicious - and very patient - dish. 'Pulled' and tossed in its own sticky onions, serve simply with a green salad and new potatoes, or in some toasted brioche baps with crunchy coleslaw on the side.
3 onions, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic (or 1 tbsp garlic paste)
1 tsp chilli flakes (or replace with 1 tbsp lightly crushed fennel seeds)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
200ml cider vinegar
50ml maple syrup
1kg pork shoulder (this is based on a boneless piece of pork. Bone-in joints work really well too, just use a piece about 20% bigger. Score the skin to make crackling)
2. Mix together the chilli flakes, mustard and garlic. Place the pork skin side down and smear this mixture all over the flesh but not the skin. Turn it over and place the flesh side on top of the onions in the tin. Rub a couple of teaspoons of salt into the skin which will now be facing you, working it right into the cuts down to the flesh.
3. Pour the cider, cider vinegar and maple syrup round the pork. Heat the oven to 200C or use the AGA roasting oven and cook on the 2nd or 3rd set of runners oven for 15 - 30 mins until the skin has turned golden and crispy.
4. Turn the oven down to 120c or place on the grid shelf on the floor or the simmering oven on and cook for at least 6 hours and ideally overnight. It is not usually necessary to cover the dish with foil.
5. At the end of the cooking time, check the pork is cooked and tender by putting a knife into it which should come out easily. If the juices in the tin are more than 1 cm deep, remove the pork and cook the onions and liquid either on the floor of the roasting oven or on the simmering plate or hob briefly until reduced to a thick sticky sauce.
6. To serve, first remove the crackling and divide into pieces with a knife or scissors. Then ‘pull’ the pork by roughly shredding using two forks and tossing in the sticky onions and juices. If the pork has been cooked overnight and all the juices have disappeared, simply add a little boiling water back to the onions and continue as above. The onions should be really dark and caramelised to give plenty of flavour when mixed in with the juicy pork.