Slow roasted pork neck in thyme, rosemary & bay with mint flatbreads

Generally in January I yearn for rib-sticking, stodgy, winter warmers; the kind of hearty, satisfying food that provides an extra layer of insulation against the cold and damp outside.

But occasionally I find myself craving sunshine food; dishes that remind me of blue skies, eating al fresco and the scent of honeysuckle. And this slow roasted pork does exactly that. The sweet, fragrant and tender pork neck is shredded and served simply with flatbreads, salad and tzatziki, very reminiscent of incredible gyros we enjoyed on holiday in Kefalonia last summer.

Pork neck is a very cheap cut of meat but you’ll probably need to ask your butcher for it. Ours doesn’t have it out on the counter as it’s not all that popular; he normally uses it in his sausages. But it is perfect for slow cooking – so delicious and full of flavour, especially when you marinade it in plenty of herbs, garlic and lemon juice. Don’t be tempted to rush the roasting. For a wonderfully succulent texture, the pork neck will need around four to five hours in the oven.

Slow roasted pork neck in thyme, rosemary and bay

Serves 4

1kg pork neck
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
large bunch of fresh thyme, leaves stripped
2 large sprigs of rosemary
1 lemon
handful of bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. You begin with a high temperature to get it started and then whack it right down low to slow cook.

Using a pestle and mortar, roughly crush the garlic cloves with the thyme, a handful of rosemary picked from the stalk and the juice of half the lemon. Put the piece of pork into a medium-sized ovenproof dish, pierce all over with a sharp knife and rub all over with the garlic and herb mixture so it penetrates the flesh.

Chop the remaining lemon half into half again and place in the dish alongside the pork with the rest of the rosemary and bay leaves. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. (If you’re using an Aga, place in the middle of the top oven.)

After 15 to 20 minutes, just enough time to really get the meat hot, turn the temperature down to 140°C/gas mark 1, or the middle of the simmering Aga oven.

Roast for four to five hours until the meat is tender and beginning to fall apart.

Remove the foil and increase the temperature to 200°C/gas mark 6 (back to the top Aga oven) again for another 10 to 15 minutes to brown the pork a little.

Shred the pork using a couple of forks and pile onto a large serving plate. Bring to the table with a simple salad, tzatziki and a stack of warm mint flatbreads (below).

Mint flatbreads

These flatbreads were inspired by a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe in his wonderful book Plenty. I’ve swapped coriander for mint, which perfectly complements the Greek-style pork and yoghurt.

280g plain flour
3tsp baking powder
1½ tsp salt
280g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp dried mint
butter
olive oil

Place the flour, baking powder, salt, yoghurt and mint in a large bowl and mix together to form a dry dough. Add a little more flour it it’s a bit sticky. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it is smooth and stretchy. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Divide the dough into 10 to 12 pieces, form into balls and then roll with a rolling pin into round discs about 2mm thick.

Heat a knob of butter and a little olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and fry the flatbreads, one at a time, for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown. Add a little more butter and oil as required. Keep the flatbreads warm until you’ve cooked them all.

Enjoy with your slow roasted pork!

As this dish features lots of lovely herbs, I’m entering it into Lavender & Lovage’s Herbs on Saturday recipe challenge, which I also happen to be hosting this month!

24 thoughts on “Slow roasted pork neck in thyme, rosemary & bay with mint flatbreads

  1. Pingback: January Herbs on Saturday blog challenge – win a copy of ‘Your Kitchen Garden’ « Bangers & Mash

    • Thanks so much Jacqueline! Bizarrely, I only discovered Ottolenghi a few months ago and have fallen in love with him – and his recipes of course. Steadily working my way through his cookbooks, and enjoying everything!

  2. This looks so yummy and I wonder if it would go in a slow cooker too, but maybe that would be better suited for a casserole type dish! We don’t actually have a butcher in the town where I live which is a bit sad but the next time I’m near one I know what I’m going to ask for:-)

    • Hi Camilla – thanks for popping over! I’ve never actually used a slow cooker. We have an Aga and that is a slow cooker in itself. But I bet pork neck would suit a casserole-style dish perfectly too. Definitely ask for some next time you’re near a butcher. It’s a great cut, and so cheap too.

    • Thanks Anneli! Yes the flatbreads are very simple, just takes a little while frying them up individually. Do let me know what you think if you give them and the pork a go…

  3. It’s rare that my mouth actually waters when I’m reading blogs but it just has. I’ve had pulled pork on my mind for a few days now and I think you’ve just tipped me over the edge. I’ve never used pork neck before, I shall head to my butchers to investigate!

    • Aww, thanks Sian – that’s the best compliment I could ask for, to make someone’s mouth water! I’d never tried pork neck before having it in Greece last summer and had been meaning to try it for ages. It really is worth getting hold of. It’s so tasty, and cheap too. Always a good combination!

  4. Yes purrrrlease! Looks totally divine but I really wish I wasn’t reading this starving hungry as I might just eat the screen. Totally my cup of tea. Bookmarked. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: Herbs on Saturday – January Round Up « Bangers & Mash

  6. I know I’m a tad late noticing this one, but blimey it looks AMAZING! I love making flatbread and the pork looks wonderfully tender, like pulled pork. We still have lots of pork in the freezer from the 3 pigs who rooted out our weed strewn garden last year and I’m wondering if I have any neck left or which other cuts would suit this…

    • Hi Andrea – it does look good doesn’t it? And believe me, it tastes even better! Any cut that works wells slow roasted would be ideal for this – shoulder would be perfect, maybe belly? Let me know how you get on if you do try it…

  7. Just came across your blog and love your recipe. I’m getting a pork neck today from a chef friend and am looking for inspiration. Any recipe with directions for an Aga is just a delight. I’ve always wanted one of those but not very practical in San Francisco. Cheers!

    • Thanks so much Heather. Would love to hear how you get on with your pork neck. I reckon slow roasting is perfect for this cut. And no, I can’t imagine an Aga would be all that practical in SF ;)

  8. Just tried this recipe for both the pork neck and the flat bread and my 15 year old son ate HALF of it! It was a huge hit with my family. The only problem with the flat bread is that I did not have any mint. Instead, I added dried parsley and it still came out great! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your recipes.

    • So pleased you and your family enjoyed this recipe, Diana. And wow – your son has some appetite! Pleased you tried it with the flat breads too. I must try them next time with parsley – sounds good.

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