Pork Belly: Glamorously Simple

26 Sep

My general motto in life is if it is worth doing it is worth over doing. As a result I nearly always over cater for every occasion. I live in fear that I won’t have enough food and the shame!…… oh the shame!…..of someone going home not completely stuffed is just too awful to contemplate. I am not sure if it is my European background that leads me to think that food and feeding is as essential as breathing and a reflection of my generosity and love for those around me or whether I just have an unconscious desire to undo other people’s good eating habits. Whatever the answer the result of this over catering compulsion, is that i have a freezer stacked full of goodies. Every now and then I need to stop buying more food and start using what is in my freezer. One such ‘must use’ item is pork belly.

When I decided to cook pork belly for my last dinner party I was determined not to go too overboard, after all we had nibbles and cocktails, an entrée and we were finishing with trifle. So I did the calculations of how many grams I would need per head….. This was where the trouble started. Given that I am a lawyer and therefore can’t count and I had forgotten about Miss Meat, I slightly over calculated and ended up with a much larger slab of belly than required. In my defence it was not nearly as large as the ham dad brought home one Christmas when left unsupervised, all I will say is we had to evacuate an entire fridge for that ham… But that is a story for another day……. When I got my delightful free range pork home, it also didn’t fit in my roasting dish. Small problem. So I cut of a portion of the belly and carefully wrapped and froze it for a later time. That time was Sunday Dinner.

Table ready and waiting

When I say I am cooking pork belly many people look at me with great admiration as if I have mastered some obscure and highly desirable skill. I can assure you no special skill is required. As a person who dreaded Sunday roasts in my house and usually only ate the potato (I really do love carbs), I came to roasting beasts much later, long after I had mastered pasta and even Pavlova. Given that I am still playing catch up in the roasting skills department, I tend to pick easier meats and pork belly is one of those. The unctuousness of pork belly means it is almost impossible to dry out.

I have seen some very intricate recipes for pork belly which I am sure are delicious but I prefer to leave mine relatively unadorned. I served this for dinner on Sunday with some roast veges, the most important of course being potato.

Easy Veges

While I must admit that I can never quite get my pork belly to restaurant standard tenderness , it is lusciously moist and yielding and always a favourite with friends. Despite my personal dislike for crackling this recipe always produces moan inducing crackling for fellow diners who appreciate such things 😉

I have included a gravy recipe below for those who like my father, simply can’t go without some sauce. While you have the brandy out you may as well make a cocktail!

Pork Belly

Serves 3-4

  • 650 gms of Pork Belly
  • ½ apple sliced
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • Sea salt approximately 1 tbsp
  1. Score across the skin of the pork belly making sure you don’t cut through it completely.
  2. Pour a kettle of boiling water on the skin. This will help it crisp up later. Dry thoroughly
  3. Rub sea salt into the skin
  4. Place sliced apple and onion in a pile in the middle of your roasting dish. Place the dried and salted pork on top of this to ensure that it doesn’t touch the base of the dish.
  5. Pour boiling water in the bottom of the dish until it almost reaches the level of the pork
  6. Place in 220 degree oven for 20 mins.
  7. Reduce temperature to 180 degrees and cook for a further 1 hour. Top up boiling water if required.
  8. To get crackling to perfection. I put on the grill for a couple of minutes at the end

Crunchy Tender Goodness

Gravy

  1. Place roasting tin on stove
  2. Pour all but one cup of water out of tray and remove apple and onions and reserve.
  3. Add some vegetable stock and stir until fully dissolved. Add a good slosh of brandy and simmer for 5 mins to reduced slightly.
  4. Ad 2 teaspoons of flour and whisk so there are no lumps. Add the onion and apple back to the sauce warm for a few minutes before serving.

Paired with a divine merlot...heaven

Do you like roast dinner? What is your favourite roast vege?

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5 Responses to “Pork Belly: Glamorously Simple”

  1. frugalfeeding 27/09/2011 at 4:50 am #

    It looks awesome, great looking top! Pork belly is simply great! Delicious.

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 27/09/2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Oh yes can I ever relate to your quote “My general motto in life is if it is worth doing it is worth over doing”. I mean why do one when you can double it! This sounds divine 🙂

  3. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge 16/10/2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Hi 🙂 I found you back.
    I really enjoyed this read. I like your style of writing. Easy and fun.
    This looks scrumptious.

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