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How to Cook The Perfect Roast Belly Pork

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg pork belly, skin scored
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 celery sticks, cut in halves
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • A small bunch of fresh thyme or rosemary
METHOD

Cooking the perfect roast belly pork involves a few key steps to ensure a succulent, tender meat with a delightfully crispy skin. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Pork Belly:
    • Preheat your oven to 220°C (fan 200°C, gas mark 7).
    • Dry the pork belly skin thoroughly with paper towels. This is crucial for crispy crackling.
    • Rub a generous amount of sea salt into the scored skin, getting it into the cuts. Add some black pepper as well.
  2. Initial Roasting:
    • Place the pork belly on a rack in a roasting tray, skin side up. This allows the fat to drip off.
    • Roast for 30 minutes at the high heat to start the crackling process.
  3. Vegetable Bed:
    • After 30 minutes, remove the pork from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C (fan 160°C, gas mark 4).
    • Lay the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs in the bottom of the roasting tray. These will serve as a trivet and add flavour to the pork.
  4. Continue Roasting:
    • Place the pork belly back on the rack above the vegetables.
    • Roast for another hour and a half. If the crackling needs more time to become perfectly crisp, you can increase the oven temperature for the final 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
  5. Rest the Meat:
    • Once the pork belly is cooked and the skin is crispy, remove it from the oven.
    • Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist cut of meat.
  6. Serving:
    • Slice the pork belly and serve it with your choice of sides. Apple sauce, roasted vegetables, or a simple green salad can be excellent accompaniments.

Shop for Ingredients

Pork Belly

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£47.25

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When selecting sides to pair with roast belly pork, consider balancing the rich and savoury flavours of the meat with sides that offer contrasting textures and tastes. Here are some pairings:

  1. Roasted Vegetables:
    • Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, roasted until caramelised, can complement the pork's richness.
    • Brussels sprouts or green beans, roasted with a bit of garlic and olive oil, offer a nice, slightly bitter contrast.
  2. Potatoes:
    • Roast potatoes, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, are a classic choice.
    • Mashed potatoes with a touch of cream and butter can be a luxurious accompaniment.
  3. Apple-Based Sides:
    • Apple sauce is a traditional pairing with pork, offering a sweet and tangy counterpoint to the meat.
    • A warm apple and red onion chutney can also provide a delightful blend of sweetness and acidity.
  4. Salads:
    • A crisp green salad with a vinaigrette dressing can cut through the richness of the pork.
    • A fennel and orange salad can offer a crunchy and refreshing element.
  5. Sauces and Gravies:
    • A rich gravy made from the pan drippings of the pork can enhance its natural flavours.
    • A mustard sauce or a cider reduction can offer a sharp and tangy contrast.
  6. Breads:
    • A crusty loaf of bread or rolls can be great for mopping up any delicious juices or gravy.
    • Yorkshire puddings, although traditionally served with beef, can be a delightful addition to soak up the flavours.
  7. Rice or Grains:
    • A simple pilaf or a wild rice mix can offer a lighter side that still absorbs the pork’s flavours well.
    • Barley or quinoa salads with fresh herbs can add a nutritious and tasty element to the meal.

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Hot Tips

  • Ensure the skin of the pork belly is scored well. This helps the skin to puff up and become crispy.
  • If your pork belly doesn’t come pre-scored, you can do it yourself with a sharp knife, making sure not to cut into the meat.
  • For an extra flavour boost, consider marinating the pork belly overnight in a mix of herbs and spices before roasting.

Pairings

  1. Wine:
    • White Wine: A full-bodied white wine like Chardonnay or Viognier can be an excellent choice. Their rich textures and subtle oakiness can complement the fattiness of the pork.
    • Red Wine: If you prefer red, a Pinot Noir or a lighter-bodied Shiraz offers a nice balance. These wines are fruity yet subtle enough not to overpower the pork.
  2. Beer:
    • A crisp Pilsner or Lager can cut through the richness of the pork belly, refreshing the palate between bites.
    • For a more adventurous pairing, try a Belgian Saison. Its fruity and spicy notes can match well with the savoury pork.
  3. Cider:
    • A dry apple cider is a classic pairing with pork. Its crispness and slight acidity can help to balance the richness of the meat.
    • For a sweeter contrast, a pear cider could also work well, offering a refreshing and slightly fruity counterpoint to the dish.
  4. Non-Alcoholic Options:
    • Sparkling apple juice can mimic the effect of cider without the alcohol, providing a sweet and tangy complement to the pork.
    • For a more aromatic experience, try a ginger beer. Its spiciness can enhance the flavours of the roast pork.
  5. Spirits:
    • If you're in the mood for something stronger, an aged whiskey or bourbon can stand up to the bold flavours of the pork. Their caramel and vanilla notes can add depth to the pairing.