Slow-roasted Pork - River Cafe

Spalla di maiale arrostita lentamente - Slow-roasted shoulder of pork

Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

River Cafe Cookbook Book 2, published 1998

Out of print - Typically available second hand

Yield:             8-10 servings

Time:             24 hours (60 minutes of actual interaction)

Season:         Fall and Winter

Pairing:         Red Wine (Zinfandel or similar)


This recipe, developed by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, is taken from a copy of the above-mentioned cookbook. This dish is so amazing and the book is so difficult to find (online and offline - you may want to try Amazon), I transcribed this recipe verbatim. If you can find the cookbook, all of the recipes are amazing and represent the awesome dishes that made the River Cafe one of the best restaurants in London since 1987. Since then Ruth Rogers has been knighted and is now Lady Rogers, MBE. Unfortunately, Rose Gray passed away in 2010. Rest in Peace.

"For 8-10 Shoulder of pork is the most suitable cut of pork for this long method of cooking, as the meat is layered with fat which slowly melts away. We cook it overnight in the cooling wood oven.

1 small whole shoulder of pork, with skin, about 6-7 pounds in weight

10 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup fennel seeds

coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

5-6 small dried red chiles, crumbled

juice of 5 lemons

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 oF. Using a small sharp knife, score the whole skin of the shoulder with deep cuts about 1/4 in wide.

Smash the garlic with the fennel seeds then mix with salt, pepper, and chile to taste. Rub and push this mixture into and over the skin and all the surfaces of the meat. Place the shoulder on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes or until the skin begins to crackle, blister, and brown. Turn the shoulder and pour on half the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Turn the oven down, to 250 oF, and leave the meat to roast, overnight or all day (from 8-24 hours). Turn over occasionally and baste with extra lemon juice and, if necessary, a little oil.

The shoulder is ready when it is completely soft under the crisp skin. You can tell by pushing with your finger: the meat will give way and might even fall off the bone. Serve each person with some of the crisp skin and meat cut from different parts of the shoulder. Add extra lemon juice to deglaze the pan, and spoon this over."

Enjoy the pork once it is done. And enjoy the fragrance of fennel throughout the kitchen and your house. Find the River Cafe cookbooks and you will find every recipe is amazing.