Roasted pork shoulder with persimmon and roasted pumpkin crescents with chickpeas, pepitas and kale - feeds up to 12 people.
3-4kg free-range pork shoulder, bone in
8 non-astringent persimmons
8 star anise
50g sea salt
250ml vegetable stock
250ml apple juice
Fresh fennel fronds
2 Japanese pumpkins
6 red onions
4 heads of garlic
1 bunch curly kale
1kg dry chickpeas
250ml olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
4 fresh bay leaves
1 pinch bicarb
Soak the chickpeas in cold water with a pinch of bicarb soda over night or all day, making sure there is enough room and water for them to swell.
Score the pork skin with a Stanley knife in lines about 1cm apart and 5mm deep, rub all over with the salt. Place pork into a deep roasting pan so that there is plenty of room still all around it and it doesn’t sit proud above or over the edges. Bake for 20mins at 200C and take out to rest for 10mins.
While the pork is undergoing this first stage ready the persimmons by taking off the hard leafy top and cut in half down the middle.
Fill the roasting pan with the persimmons, star anise, peppercorns and enough of the combined liquid to cover up to half of the meat. Cover with a lid or tightly sealed aluminium foil and put back into oven at 150C for 4hrs.
Par cook the chickpeas in salted water until nearly soft, about 30mins on stove top lid on .
Cut the pumpkin in crescents, from the top to the bottom following the natural lines, putting into a big container or bowl. Quarter the red onions and cut the garlic head along the cross section into halves, so that all the cloves are cut across the middle, put all of these into the container also. Cover the contents of the container with the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and bay leaves, mix through with your hands until there is a coating of the oil and spice on everything. Evenly distribute the uncooked vegetables, placing onto as many baking trays as needed. Bake without a cover in a 180C oven for 45-60mins, until pumpkin is soft and lovely and golden brown.
Take out the pork shoulder and place on a new dry baking tray, with the persimmons surrounding it, let rest until ready to crisp for serving. Strain the liquid from the pork dish and add to the chickpeas, cooking them until the liquid coats them in a glaze of deliciousness, when the last of the liquid is cooking off, put the kale into the pot and put the lid on.
While this is happening put the oven back up to 200C and put the pork and persimmons back in to cook until crisp. When the chickpeas and kale are ready, put them on a warmed serving dish and cover them with the pumpkin crescents, onion and garlic. Dry toast the pepitas in a fry pan on the stove top until lovely and toasty, sprinkle all over the pumpkin dish.
On another warmed serving plate put the crisp pork and persimmons and garnish with fresh young fennel fronds and the star anise.