A number of years back, I was doing some sort of search on my computer and this recipe from Jamie Oliver appeared. It's funny how things like that happen, as I wasn't even looking for a recipe! Anyway, I had decided to make something different for our Christmas meal and decided to give it a try; this dish is put in the oven to cook every Christmas Eve now and has become a bit of a tradition. Thanks, Jamie Oliver... wonderful dish!
2Trim the greenery from the fennel bulbs and discard, and roughly chop the bulbs; peel the carrots and roughly chop; peel the onions and roughly chop; separate the bulb of garlic into cloves, leaving skin on cloves and roughly smash.
3Place all the roughly chopped vegetables into a large, covered roasting pan. Separate the bunch of thyme and lay all the sprigs on top; set aside.
4Smash the fennel seeds and salt in a pestle and mortar until fine.
5Score the entire top surface of the pork then pat with olive oil and place on top of chopped vegetables in the roasting pan. Sprinkle all the crushed fennel mixture on the pork using your fingers to massage it into the surface and into the scores.
6Place the prepared roast, uncovered, into the preheated oven and cook until it becomes very fragrant and the meat starts to color, about 20-30 minutes.
7Turn the temperature down to 250 degrees, cover the roasting pan and cook overnight until soft and sticky, 9-12 hours depending on roast size. ADD THE ENTIRE BOTTLE OF WINE TO THE ROASTING PAN FOR THE LAST HOUR OF COOKING TIME.
8Remove from the oven when done and allow to sit covered for an hour before removing the roast from the pan. Place the roast on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
9Remove the thyme stems from the roasting pan, then mash the vegetables with a potato masher. Add the chicken stock and slow-boil on the stove top to reduce as desired, for the most amazing sauce to be served with the pork, potatoes, etc.
10Jamie Oliver says you can thicken with flour, if you wish, but I can tell you reducing it a bit on the stove top retains all that wonderful, intense flavor.
*** THE SMELL OF THIS COOKING HAS GOT TO BE ONE OF THE BEST I HAVE EVER CREATED IN MY KITCHEN... ABSOLUTELY AMAZING WITH A TASTE TO MATCH ***