3kg boned and rolled pork shoulder, skin scored
For the brine
100g caster sugar
300ml cider vinegar
3 tbsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
For the potatoes
2kg Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes, peeled and finely sliced – a mandoline is good for this
10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 onions, sliced
1 tbsp picked thyme leaves
500ml chicken stock
The day before roasting, mix the salt, sugar, vinegar, sage and thyme in a large mixing bowl, then roll the pork in the brine, cover and chill overnight, or for up to 24 hrs.
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Tip the potatoes, garlic, onions and thyme into a large roasting tin and toss together with some cracked black pepper, then pack down with your hands and pour over the stock. Remove the pork from the fridge, pat dry with kitchen paper and sit it skin-side up in the middle of the potatoes. Roast for 4 hrs, pushing the potatoes down occasionally so they don’t burn.
If you’re happy with the crackling, leave to rest for 15 mins. If not, sit the pork on a shallow roasting tray and turn the oven up to 220C/ 200C fan/gas 7 and roast for 20 mins more or until the skin is crisp, then leave to rest for 10 mins. Check your potatoes – if they are swimming in pork juices, pour some off. Carve the pork and serve with the potatoes, rhubarb compote and carrots (see recipes, right).