All week we have been eyeing up some good looking pork belly in our local supermarket and today was the day we knew we had the time to create something wonderful with it. We had a friend over to share the meal as 2 kg of pork is far to much for two people. They recommend around 1 kg to feed around 3 – 4 people so we carved it up before cooking and have saved some for another day and another meal.
It may look difficult, but as you take around 20 minutes to prepare the pork before placing it in the oven, you then have a whole 2 -2.5 hours to prepare all the other items you may wish to serve with it. So do not be put off by the length of this post and tackle it in stages.
You will need:
For the Pork Belly:
1 kg of pork belly
1 fennel bulb, roughly sliced
4 dried bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
1 tsp of cardamon pods, bashed
4 star anise
300 ml white wine
500 ml of chicken stock
1 tbsp of fennel seeds
2 raw beetroots
Approx. 50 g of brown sugar
Approx. 50 ml of red wine vinegar
6 Juniper berries
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp Caraway seeds
1 kg Potatoes
4 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 Parsnips, quartered length ways, baked
3-4 Stemmed Broccoli, stemmed
Pine Nuts, toasted
4 Rashers of streaky bacon
The Pork Belly:
(1) Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan assisted).
(2) Score the pork belly skin in a diamond pattern.
(3) Season with salt and pepper and rub it into the skin
(4) Place a hot roasting tray on your hob and add a little olive oil. Add the fennel, bay leaves, cardamon, star anise, garlic, and half the fennel seeds to roasting tray placed and heat for a couple of minutes. Remember to stir.
(5) Move everything to the sides of the tray to make space for the pork.
(6) Add the pork, skin side down and cook for at least 5 minutes until it is golden brown.
(7) Turn the pork over, season the skin again with salt and the remaining fennel seeds.
(8) Prepare your chicken stock and remove your pork temporarily from the roasting tray.
(9) Pour the wine into the roasting tray to deglaze, scrap up with bits stuck to the bottom and bring to the boil
(10) Add your pork back into the tray, skin side up, and pour in enough stock to come up to the layer of fat just below the skin. DON’T GET THE SKIN OF THE PORK WET!
(11) Bring to the boil again.
(12) Place the tray into your preheated oven and cook for 2 – 2.5 hours.
(1) Cut your beetroot into 1cm cubes.
(2) Add the beetroot, sugar, red wine vinegar, fennel seeds, cloves, caraway seeds and juniper berries to a frying pan and heat on a medium heat.
(3) Stir the mix every so often, you are looking for the liquid to caramelise slightly.
(4) Remove the beetroot cubes and place in a blender. Remove the juniper berries and cloves put in the bin (don’t worry if you don’t get them all). Allow the liquid to cool slightly and then add to the blender and whiz.
(5) Once puréed, taste, season with salt and pepper and add a little lime juice to balance out the flavours to your liking.
(1) For the mash topping, peel your potatoes and cook in a pot of boiling water until tender.
(2) Drain off and return to the pot to mash. Add cream and butter. Use potato masher to mash potatoes until well mashed.
(3) Use a strong spoon to beat further, adding milk to achieve the consistency you desire. (Do not over-beat or your potatoes will get gluey.) Salt and pepper to taste.
(1) Cut the parsnips into quarters lengthways, place into an oven proof dish, drizzle with a little honey and place in the oven for 30 min or until golden and tender.
(2) Trim the broccoli, bring about 3 cm of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer. Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 5 – 6 minutes. The broccoli is done when you can pierce it with a fork.
(3) Put the pine nuts in a dry pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden in spots, this takes around 3 minutes.
(4) Add a little oil to a frying pan, add the bacon and fry until crispy.
(1) When the pork is done, transfer the meat to a warm plate, cover with tin foil and set aside to rest.
(2) Serve up all the prepared elements; pork, mashed potatoes, bacon, beetroot purée, parsnips, broccoli, toasted pine nuts and add the fennel from the roasting tray. See photo for suggested plating idea.
(3) Open a bottle of wine and enjoy!