Slow-cooked shoulder of pork with braised celery and rhubarb

Serves 6-8

Slow-cooked dishes are warm and deeply satisfying at this time of year. Shoulder of pork is lovely cooked this way. Although fattier than the leg, it is sweeter; the sharp bite of the rhubarb balances its richness.

For the pork

2tbsp unsalted butter
2tbsp olive oil
1 pork shoulder
Sea salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 small bunch of sage leaves
2 dried chillies
1tbsp of quality white-wine vinegar, such as Volpaia
300ml/10fl oz white wine
350ml/12fl oz milk

For the braised celery and rhubarb

1 bunch of English celery (white heart only)
500g/1lb rhubarb
100ml/31/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
1tsp coriander seeds
2 fresh bay leaves
150ml/5fl oz chicken stock
Sea salt and black pepper

For the pork, heat the butter and oil in a pan with a lid. Season the meat generously all over. Put the pork in the pan and brown well; pour off any excess fat. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, sage, chilli, vinegar, wine and milk. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to very low. Place the lid on the pan at an angle so steam can escape, and cook for three hours. Check periodically.

The pork is cooked when it is tender enough to be eaten with a spoon. Remove to a serving plate and turn the heat up to reduce the remaining sauce to a third – it should be rich in flavour and very satisfying. Season if necessary.

While the pork is cooking, prepare the braised celery and rhubarb. Wash and dry and cut both into 5cm shards. Pour the olive oil into a pan and place over a medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, rhubarb, celery, bay leaves and chicken stock, and season. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat to poach until the rhubarb and celery are tender – it should take no longer than 10 minutes.

Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl and keep warm. Bring the remaining liquid to a vigorous boil and reduce to a third.

To serve, pour the meat reduction over the pork, pour the vegetable reduction over the warm vegetables you have set aside in the bowl, and serve alongside each other.

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