Stuff it- a tale of a pork roast

A feast needs a main event.

At home in Sydney a festive dining experience would involve one of two centre pieces.

There could be a ham, cross hatched and glazed with a sticky coat of orange and mustard. Or there could be a pink fish, barbecued and packed with herbs and lemon.

When a British butcher tried to tell me that ham is really gammon and the weather drew cold enough to make me abandon aesthetics, I realised neither of those options would fly. 

For the tree trimming, it was going to have to be a slab of pig. Crispy skin, molten flesh and a sturdy stuffing.

Santa- is that you in my stuffing???

Let’s just say The Hungry One was pleased when he heard about this. 

There would be potato, fennel and celeriac on the side, baked in a gratin with milk, cream and gruyere on the side. There would be two sauces; one made of slow roasted apples, quinces and pears until they gave up resistance. The other would be green and proudly perky. That one was simply a slurry of sage, parsley, garlic, capers and olive oil.

Gratin of potato, celeriac, fennel and Gruyere

For cut through and a virtuous nod to vegetables that hadn’t been cooked in cream there would be a salad of shredded  red cabbage,  bound with grated apple and red wine vinegar.

But most of all, there would be a platter of seven hour roasted pork, stuffed with a combination of dried fruits, rye bread, sage and almonds.

The crackling would justify an onomatopoeia. The flesh would be pink. Together it would be robust and sticky and this little piggy would feed the hoards.

But best of all- there would be enough left over to build breakfast sandwiches the next day.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years about my spouse. In the world of The Hungry One, there’s no such thing as too much roast pork. 

Festive stuffed roast shoulder of pork

(Feeds 6-8 with side dishes. NB, this should cook for at least 5 hours).


2.6 kilograms of rolled pork shoulder (nb, have the butcher score the skin for you to help with the crackling)
1 apple
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 lemon
I orange

70 grams of dried fruit (dried cherries, apricots, cranberries)
50 grams of bread crumbs (I made mine from toasted and blitzed rye bread- the nuttiness was pretty darn good)
10 sage leaves
Rind of half an orange
2 cloves of garlic
2 egg whites
30 grams of ground almonds


1 large roasting tray/ Le Creuset casserole dish.

Here’s how we roll

1. Preheat the oven to as high as it will go (about 250 C is good).
2. Make the stuffing by mixing everything in together and giving it a good squelch.
3. Stuff the pork. If it’s already bound and rolled tight then very carefully, using a sharp knife tunnel in from both sides and scrape around in circles with the knife, like you’re drawing circles with a sparkler, to create a space for the stuffing. Press the stuffing all the way through.Yes, your hands are going to get quite sticky. Don’t wear your good cream wool jumper while you do this.

4. Pat the top of the pork totally dry and sprinkle some extra sea salt.
5. Put the pork in the oven for 30 minutes at the 250 C – you want some serious burn to get the crackling started.
6. After 30 minutes pull the pork out. Add the lemon, orange, onion, garlic and apples around the base of the pork. Turn the oven down to 110. Keeping the oven door open for a minute while you do this will help knock out some of the heat.
7. Return the pork to the oven and cook slowly for up to 6 or 7 hours . You want the flesh to be meltingly soft.
8. Half an hour before serving turn the oven back up on high to finish off the crackling.
9. Serve with a green sauce, apple sauce, a potato gratin and a salad of  half a red cabbage shredded, mixed with two grated red apples and four tablespoons of red wine vinegar.

{ 1 Comment }
  1. Here here! I agree with him 😀 I love roast pork too 😀 I suspect you'll get plenty of people inviting themselves over after this story! 😛

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