There are those times in life when you have a lot of people to feed and a huge list of tasks to do. Putting up decorations, tidying up, normal daily jobs – no time to spend hours in the kitchen getting all manner of complex things ready. Well, this recipe is absolutely the solution for this – no more than about 20 minutes actual active time involved but this is a highly successful crowd pleaser. It does, of course, utilise a slow cooker to brilliantly break down the pork until it’s so tender it practically melts when you so much as look at it. Pulling the pork apart to its fibers creates the most incredible utterly succulent texture.
Typically in my recipes I strive to make as much from scratch as possible, but this is one of those occasions where I will very proudly “cheat” and use packet ingredients, namely the stuffing however, worry not, as this isn’t going to be like any packet stuffing you’ve ever had. We’re going to utilise the absolutely incredible braising liquid from the slow cooker to make the most flavourful, delicious stuffing you’ve ever seen.
- Large Pork Shoulder
- 1 large glass cider
- 2 bay leaves
- Handful sea salt
- 1 packet sage and onion stuffing
- Apple Sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Crushed chilli flakes
- A few glugs tabasco/other hot sauce
- Soft buns – preferably brioche
- Score the skin and fat of the pork in a diamond pattern. Place in a slow cooker along with the cider and bay leaves. Cook on high for 4 hours or, preferably, low for 8 hours.
- Heat the oven to 200C and transfer the pork to a roasting tray. Sprinkle the fat generously with salt and roast for around 40 minutes. At this point, slide a knife between the fat and the meat to remove it. Remove the pork from the oven, replacing the fat so it can well and truly crackle at a slightly higher heat. Check every 5 minutes or so until it’s to your liking.
- Empty the packet of sage and onion stuffing into a bowl and add the hot liquid from the slow cooker (check the packet for suggested ratio of liquid, add slightly more than you need so the stuffing isn’t too dry.) Allow to settle for a few minutes.
- Use two forks to pull the pork to your liking – this should be very easy (and satisfying). I tend to return it to the remaining liquid in the slow cooker to keep it nice and moist right up until serving.
- In a separate bowl combine the apple sauce and honey, then add chilli flakes and tabasco to your liking – it should have a slight kick but not be overpowering.
- When the crackling is ready cut it into strips and you’re ready to go! If at a party it’s nice to keep these things warm and have people serve themselves. If not, I tend to go for stuffing first, then pork then the apple sauce.