Pork belly is one of those things that people either love or hate. I am on the LOVE side of it, that is as long as it’s done nice. To cook the belly properly firstly you need a piece of meat that is balanced with the meat – fat ratio. I know it’s belly so therefore the fat level is pretty darn high but sometimes I have been served it and there is at least 75% fat to 25% meat – WHAT!!!!
I have 3 ways that I like to cook the belly. All of which ( in my opinon ) yield great results and are all cpmpletely different. Here we have gone for the high heat & low heat method. Which as you can probably guess is literally putting it in the oven at high heat and then low heat. It couldn’t be any easier, could it?
Other ways that I cook pork belly which I will go into in further detail in future posts are to remove the skin from the belly (saving it for some crispy skin later!) and to slice it thinly and cook it hot and fast on the bbq. This works great if you are doing a pork belly burger! The other way is to cook it slow covered in foil and then to press it for uniformity and cool. This is great when preparing in advance or if you are looking to fry some pork belly cubes as a canape. Keep your eyes peeled for these ones soon.
Anyways, back to the task at hand. The key to cooking pork belly and getting the skin crispy is in the prep. You will read TONS of ways to do it on the interweb that include things like pouring boiling water over the skin but to me the way I get the best results are to just score the skin with a very sharp knife or stanley blade ( any decent butcher can help with this ), rub it with a generous amount of salt and leave it to air dry in the fridge. Therefore this recipe does require a little bit of pre-planning but believe me when I say the results are well worth it.
A STUNNING plate from Michelle the clay smith rounds off this beautiful dish. Check her out on instagram @theclaysmith I hope you enjoy the recipe and I look forward to seeing your finished products!
Ingredients – serves 2
4-500g pork belly
100g savoy cabbage – chopped
1 sweet potato – roughly chopped
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
2 knobs butter
50ml water or chicken stock
1 330ml btl cider
200ml chicken stock
½ onion – roughly chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
1 garlic clove – chopped
2 sprigs thyme
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp butter
1. Score skin of pork in a criss cross fashion at 1cm intervals.
2. Rub skin with a generous amount of salt and leave in the fridge over night and up to 48hrs.
3. When ready to cook, wipe skin with paper towel to remove salt & excess moisture.
4. Rub with 1 tsp olive oil and a generous amount of salt.
5. Place in oven @ 220c for 30 minutes and then cook for 25 minutes @ 170c.
6. Leave rest for 10 minutes before serving.
1. Place sweet potatoes on baking tray.
2. Heat butter in frying pan on medium heat until it froths up and starts to turn brown. Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon & sugar to butter.
3. Pour over sweet potatoes and mix well. Bake sweet potatoes @ 180c for approx. 20mins or until soft.
4. Place sweet potatoes, salt, pepper and a little butter in blender and add 50ml of water or vegetable stock. Blend until smooth adding more water/seasoning of necessary.
1. Place all ingredients into sauce pan EXCEPT BUTTER and simmer until reduced by ½ – approx. 20 minutes.
2. Strain through sieve pressing all the liquids from solid ingredients.
3. Return to heat, whisk in the butter and reduce until about ½ cup of liquid remains
1. Fry in pan with a splash of oil, salt & pepper for a couple minutes.
*when cooking pork belly always dry the skin as best as possible so leaving overnight/24hrs in fridge is best*
**if using a larger piece of belly use the rule of 30mins @ 220c and then 25mins @ 170c per 500g**
***this dish may see complicated but the jus & sweet potatoes can all be made in advance if having a dinner party so less to do when serving it***
****if you find your piece of belly has too much fat below the skin then before serving slice off the crispy skin and you can remove some of the fat with a sharp knife and place the skin back on top****