Homemade slow-roasted shredded pork with thyme, sage, Taleggio and rocket pizza

It always amazes me how often people have takeaways as it’s rarely something we do for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I love cooking and I end up thinking if I’m going to eat at home then I might as well cook. Two, if I spend money on food that’s been cooked for me, I’d much rather enjoy the experience properly in a restaurant.

I’m not saying I’m totally innocent to a takeaway and if I put one at the top of the list, I’d probably say Chinese but that’s best enjoyed as a group because how can you limit Chinese to just a couple of dishes?!  Therefore, a takeaway as a couple, then it’s going to have to be pizza. My husband would probably pick Dominos, but as we have a Strada (and Pizza Express as it happens) 50 meters up the road, I’d pick Strada as at least it has a more Italian authentic taste and style to it.

I love that with pizza you can always mix it up and try out new flavours to add to the top and see how they work together. The flavour combinations are literally endless, but often less is more.

Having been to Italy recently, I got a real lesson in what makes a great pizza and in my opinion, a thin crust is an absolute must topped with a rich basil tomato sauce, layered with some cured meats and dappled with mozzarella and scattered with basil leaves.

I recently came across a Jamie Oliver recipe that added shredded pork to pizza which was something that I’d never have thought of.  Shredded pork, on a Sunday, on a pizza, how could it not work?!

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I gave some thought to how I could take inspiration from the original recipe and create something a little different.

In the last couple of months I’ve had two troughs of various herbs growing on my balcony (kindly put together and donated by my parents and purchased from the wonderful Pepperpot Herbs ) and whilst I’d been adding them to our various meals, I thought making a pizza would be a great chance to make some fresh herbs the star of the show.

The recipe suggested adding thyme to the top of the pizza, but I love the flavour of sage and thyme (particularly with pork) so added a handful of each to my dough before rolling it out. The aim being that you’d get the wonderful herb flavours all the way through from the golden base to the crisp sage leaves perching on the cheese.

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I was quite pleased with my little creation.

Whilst my dough wasn’t exactly round, I’m not sure it matters when you get the flavour combinations on top right. I loved the herbs singing through the base, the shredded pork was moist and delicious and reminiscent of a Sunday roast.

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The Taleggio cheese (not one I’d tried before) was a lovely change from mozzarella and worked so well with the thyme and sage. It wasn’t over powering but simply complimentary.

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The crisp sage leaves delivered another dimension and it was a lesson in just how important herbs are to a dish and how they bring a few flavours together.

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Who needs a takeaway when you can make pizzas like this at home.

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Homemade slow-roasted shredded pork with thyme, sage, Taleggio and rocket pizza

The recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver

The dough is inspired by The Little Loaf with some herb additions

Makes 4 medium sized pizzas

Ingredients

For the pizza dough:

250g strong white bread flour

250g ’00′ pizza flour

6g powdered dried yeast

10g salt

330ml water

1 – 2 tbsp olive oil

Wholemeal or semolina flour, to dust

To be added to the dough upon rolling:

Handful of thyme leaves

Handful of chopped sage leaves

 

For the tomato sauce:

1 clove garlic

1 small bunch fresh basil

olive oil

400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

For the topping:

1kg pork shoulder (you can use the leftovers in sandwiches or salads for work!)

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Onion

200g Taleggio cheese

Handful of thyme leaves

Handful of sage leaves

4 handfuls of rocket

For the tomato sauce:

1 clove garlic

1 small bunch fresh basil

olive oil

400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method

To make the pizza dough:

In a large bowl or kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook, combine the flours. Then add the dried yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Pour in the water and combine until you have a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix again and then tip the dough onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth which will take about 10 minutes of elbow work.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise for about 1-2 hours, or until your dough has doubled in size.

Prepare the pork for your pizza topping:

Preheat your oven to full.

Score the pork shoulder. Bash the fennel seeds and rub them over the pork, then season and rub with olive oil. Cut your onion up into rings so that the pork can sit on the onion in the tray. Cover the pork with foil.

Turn your oven down to 170°C and roast your pork for at least 4 hours until the meat is tender and shreds easily. When cool, shred using forks. (If you want to make sure you’ve got some crackling to munch on whilst you start topping your pizza dough, place the skin back in the oven on full heat for about 20 minutes until it has crisped up nicely).

At this point place a pizza stone or baking tray in the oven to heat up.

To make the sauce:

Peel and finely slice the garlic. Pick the basil leaves and discard the stalks. Heat a saucepan on a medium-low heat and add a splash of olive oil and the garlic. Cook gently until the garlic starts to turn golden, then add most of the basil leaves, the tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for around 20 minutes, or until smooth, mashing the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.

Topping your pizza:

Heat the oven to 170°C.

Dust the work surface with wholemeal or plain flour. Cut your dough up into four and flatten using the heel of your hand. Stretch it out into a rough circle and sprinkle with the chopped sage and thyme leaves. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 5mm thick and if you can make it roughly round, even better, but don’t worry too much.

Place the rolled pizza base on individual squares of baking parchment so that you can then slide them on to your baking tray.

Smear the tomato sauce thinly over the pizza base and scatter over a handful of your roasted pork and some piece of Taleggio. Sprinkle with the thyme and sage leaves, drizzle with olive oil and cook for about 10-15 minutes until your pizzas look crisp and golden.

Dress the pizzas with some rocket and a little more olive oil if you wish.

Slice up and enjoy.

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This entry was posted in Baking, Dinner, Lunch, Pastry, Pies, Pizzas and Tarts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Homemade slow-roasted shredded pork with thyme, sage, Taleggio and rocket pizza

  1. Looks delicious! Glad to provide some inspiration 🙂

  2. Pingback: Cracked black pepper and fig bread topped with slabs of your favourite cheese | One hand in the cookie jar

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