Aromatic Pork Neck Roast or Pulled Pork Cretan (Minoan) Style

The Cretan diet has become famous all over the world since the last few years. It is considered to be the most healthiest diet because of its use of extra virgin olive oil, lots of vegetable and herbs. The Cretan diet developed from the Minoan traditions. This old civilization used the wild herbs of the island of Crete and honey. This inspired me to try out this recipe.

First time I had Cretan-Minoan food was about two years ago in a tiny but quiet famous restaurant in Heraklion I went with my family to celebrate my birthday. I had pork meat flavored with herbs and honey. It was so delicious that I wanted to try out something similar. I searched the internet and found a recipe coming close to it. So  I modified it a bit and all my family was liking it a lots. You can eat this dish as roast or as “Pulled Pork” as it will be really soft from cooking in the oven. As it is marinated for 1-2 days it is not necessary to add salt for cooking.

What you need:

2.5 kg boneless pork neck
½ cup of salt
2 heaped Tbsp. brown sugar
8 Tbsp. honey
1 garlic clove
1 medium onion
3 Tbsp. olive oil
fresh branches of rosemary, thyme and (optional) sage
1 tsp. pepper
1 carrot
1 small piece of celery root
some olive oil to fry
1 glass of dry red wine
7 cups of water

How to prepare it:

Mix the salt, brown sugar and 4 Tbsp. of honey with 6 cups of lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Let cool.

In a large pot add the meat and pour the water. Cut the garlic in halves and add together with 1-2 branches of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage. Cover and let marinate for 1-2 days in the fridge. The meat should be covered by the marinade. If necessary add some more cold water.

Preheat the oven at 150-160ºC.

In a blender combine the coarsely cut onion with the olive oil, 4 Tbsp. of honey and pepper and blend until pasty. Cut some fresh rosemary, thyme and sage coarsely and add to the blender. Blend for a second or two.

Remove the meat from the marinade and dry with some paper towel. Rub the onion mixture over all side of the meat. Clean the carrot and the celery root and cut in halves.

In a casserole heat some olive oil and fry the pork meat from all sides. Add the carrot and the celery root. Deglaze with the wine and 1 cup of water.

Cover and let cook on air for minimum 4-5 hours in the preheated oven. After 3 hours remove the lid and let cook the remaining hours. Appr. every 20 minutes pour over from the broth that has formed in the casserole.

Let rest the meat for appr. 15 minutes before cutting. Sieve the broth in a cup and carefully remove as much of the oil from the top as possible with the help of a spoon. You can use it as sauce if you want to serve the meat as a roast or mix it under the pulled pork to be juicy.

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