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Bar H: Suckling pig with roast fennel and warrigal greens

You'll need

1 suckling pig (about 7kg; see note) 40 gm (1/3 cup) ground fennel seeds 40 gm ground Sichuan pepper, plus extra for seasoning 2 tbsp sea salt flakes 160 ml olive oil 3 large fennel bulbs, quartered 10 golden shallots 40 gm (8cm piece) ginger, thinly sliced 8 garlic cloves, crushed 10 star anise 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 550 gm (4 bunches) warrigal greens, leaves picked (see note)   Cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing 3 long red chillies halved lengthways, seeds removed, thinly sliced 30 gm (6 cm piece) ginger, finely diced 200 ml Chinese black vinegar 100 ml light soy sauce 75 gm (1/3 cup) white sugar 250 gm (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes, halved, seeds removed


  • 01
  • Place pork uncovered in refrigerator for skin to dry (overnight). Pat dry inside and out with absorbent paper and refrigerate until required.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Combine ground fennel, Sichuan pepper, sea salt and oil in a bowl, rub all over pork, score skin, place in a large roasting pan and roast until starting to brown (30 minutes). Reduce oven to 190C and cook until lightly browned (30 minutes).
  • 03
  • Combine fennel pieces, shallot, ginger, garlic, star anise and extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl, toss to combine, season to taste, arrange around pork and roast until pork is cooked through and tender (1-1½ hours). Remove pork from roasting pan and place on a large oven tray to rest, then place pan with fennel on stovetop over medium heat, add warrigal greens, stir gently until greens wilt (1 minute), season with Sichuan pepper and keep warm.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing, pound chilli and ginger to a coarse paste in a mortar and pestle, add vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and stir to combine, add tomatoes, crush lightly and stir to combine.
  • 05
  • Place pork on serving platter and serve hot with roast vegetables and cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing.
Note A 7kg suckling pig, which will fit into most domestic ovens, will need to be ordered ahead from a good butcher. An 8kg pig can be used instead, but you’ll need to remove the head to fit it into the oven and extend the cooking time to 2½ hours. Warrigal greens are peppery, slightly bitter wild greens available from select greengrocers and If they’re unavailable, substitute spinach.

This recipe is from the December 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“This is the dish that will really impress your guests when it arrives at the table. I love suckling pig: the meat is ever so sweet, and pork and fennel is one of the classic combinations. Warrigal greens are an under-used Australian green – they have a slightly salty taste which works wonderfully with the sweet pork.” You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Minerally, soft-tannin pinot noir such as 2010 Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Saint-Jacques” Premier Cru, Burgundy, France.

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