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    This is a domestic take on the Italian marketplace staple of roast suckling pig. I've specified pork shoulder, but you can get any cut of pork you want: the important thing is that it's opened out to form a roughly oblong slab, which you smear with the flavourings. It's a good idea to order the meat ahead of time, as it is a large piece. After roasting, the pork is sliced thickly and wodged into buns. I tend to get small ciabatta rolls, but even in thick slices of white English bread this is dreamy.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus marinating
    • Cooking time: 3 hours, plus resting
    • Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes, plus marinating and resting 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 8


    • 2kg pork shoulder, derinded, boned and butterflied
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
    • 2 large sprigs rosemary, chopped
    • 4 fresh bay leaves, chopped
    • 1 tsp ground cloves
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 8 black peppercorns, crushed
    • 8 ciabatta buns


    1. Lay the pork on a chopping board and cover with clingfilm. Using a rolling pin or meat mallet, pound the meat to an even, 3cm thickness.
    2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a pan and cook the onion for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add half the garlic and fennel seeds, all the rosemary and bay, half the cloves, and the salt and pepper. Cook for a minute, then spread on a plate to cool.
    3. Spread the cooled mixture over the pork, rubbing it in well, then roll up the pork tightly and secure at regular intervals with string.
    4. Mix the remaining garlic, fennel and cloves with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Rub this over the pork. Cover loosely with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. Take it out a good 40 minutes before you start cooking.
    5. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Put the pork in a roasting tin and cook for 3-4 hours. Check the meat after 3 hours and, if it is blackening too much, then tent it loosely with foil for the remaining time. Remove from the oven and leave the meat to cool before slicing and stuffing into the ciabatta buns.

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