I never got my head round conventional marinating. It always added a great flavour to the outside, but I wanted to get the flavour inside too. The result was one of my ‘scientific moments’, when I injected the cacao marinade into the meat using a large syringe. The combination of flavours works really well. I was inspired by the fact that the ginger grew in the shade of the cacao: they came together once again in the marinade.
500ml white wine
100ml balsamic vinegar
garlic cloves from half a bulb, peeled and roughly chopped
10cm chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red chilli (with or without seeds, according to taste)
2 tbsp honey
25g 100% cacao, finely grated. Suggestion, Indonesian Black100% Javan Dark Breaking Cacao
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp sea salt
2.5kg boned and rolled pork shoulder, skin deeply scored
Prepare the marinade by pouring the wine and balsamic vinegar into a small pan. Boil until reduced by half. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and honey and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture, discarding the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir in the cacao until melted.
Grind the fennel seeds and sea salt in a pestle and mortar.
Lift the pork shoulder into a roasting tin and push the fennel and sea salt into the slits in the pork skin.
Load the marinade into a syringe with a large gauge and inject it at regular intervals all over the flesh of the pork.
Calculate the roasting time for the joint. Allow 1 hour 10 minutes for every kilogram.
Roast the pork for 30 minutes or until the skin has turned golden and very crisp.
Turn the oven temperature down to 170°C and roast for the remaining time. Rest for 10–15 minutes before carving and serving.
Willie’s Tip: This method of marinating works so effectively because the syringe pushes the marinade deep into the flesh of the pork. If you don’t have a syringe, use a turkey baster. You could leave the shoulder in the marinade overnight (avoid getting it on the skin) but it doesn’t penetrate as much. Be sure to turn the pan juices into a gravy by adding a splash of wine, some stock and a touch more cacao.