Pulled pork with apple and fennel slaw

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This is a fun party dish that’s all about everyone diving in and helping themselves. Sure, you could make up little sliders for everyone, but I always think that to get a decent amount of pork and slaw on your bun you can’t be tidy, delicate or restrained, and you really do need a supporting plate to catch the overflow!

It’s also worth finding a supplier of good brioche buns, as they do add an elegant richness to this gutsy dish. However, any soft bun that isn’t too doughy will work.

Ingredients

  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) boneless shoulder of pork, rind removed, excess fat trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 red capsicums (peppers), cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) apple juice or cider

Apple and Fennel Slaw

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 green apples, such as granny smiths
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • soft brioche buns and mayonnaise, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a large roasting tin with a sheet of heavy-duty extra-wide foil.

Place the pork on a clean work surface. In a small bowl, combine the salt, brown sugar, paprika, fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Rub half of the salt mixture over the pork. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sear the pork on all sides until just browned.

Meanwhile, put the onion, capsicum and garlic in the base of the prepared tin. Pour the apple juice over the vegetables. Add the seared pork to the tin and sprinkle with the remaining salt mixture. Cover the tin with another piece of foil and roast for 5 hours.

To make the apple and fennel slaw, put the lemon juice in a large bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Peel and quarter the apples, then remove the cores and thinly slice with a mandolin or very sharp knife. As you slice the apple, add it into the lemon juice and toss to coat, to prevent the apple from browning. Trim and halve the fennel, then thinly slice it. Add the sliced fennel and chopped parsley to the apple. If there are any green fronds on the fennel, they can also be added to the slaw. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine.

When the pork is cooked, pull the meat apart using two forks and mix it into the onion and capsicum mixture. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve the pork with the apple slaw, soft brioche buns and mayonnaise.