3 hours, plus 12-24 hours brining or marinating time, depending on method chosen
This slow-roast pork belly recipe from Anna Hansen offers a masterclass in cooking this unctuous cut of meat, ensuring both meltingly, tender flesh and perfect crackling. She offers two methods for preparing the pork - you can either brine the belly for 24-36 hours, or if you're short on time there's a 12 hour marinade option. Serve with some spinach or other leafy green veg along with a good dollop of this tangy pepper and apple relish.
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Score the skin of the pork belly as finely as possible to just cut through the surface into the fat, taking care not to go too deep with the blade. Ask your butcher to do this for you if you are unsure
1 pork belly, 2.5kg in weight
Place the salt, star anise, paprika, fennel seed and bay leaves in a tub big enough to hold the belly comfortably. Add enough water to cover the meat, whisk to dissolve the salt then add the pork belly skin-side down. Place the tub in the fridge to brine for 24-36 hours
180g of table salt
4 star anise, crushed
1 tbsp of smoked paprika
2 tbsp of fennel seeds, crushed
3 bay leaves
Alternatively, add the spices and bay leaves to a coffee grinder and blitz until combined. Mix with 3 tablespoons of salt, rub over the belly and leave to marinate for 12 hours
Once ready to roast, preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1
Take the belly out of the brine or marinade, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Arrange the potatoes in the roasting tin and top with the pork belly with the skin facing up. Add 200ml of water to the bottom of the dish and roast for 1 1/2-2 hours. The timing will depend on how thick the belly is, so test the meat to check if it is cooked - push a fork into the flesh, it should be nice and tender and come away easily
4 medium potatoes, cut in half lengthways
Meanwhile, for the relish, chop the apple roughly and blitz with the green pepper, ginger, onion and garlic in batches until you have a rough purée. Add the purée to a heavy-based saucepan with the chillies, vinegar, fish sauce and sugar
500g of Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
1000g of green pepper, washed and deseeded
250g of white onion, roughly chopped
100g of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
40g of garlic, peeled
8 green chillies, finely sliced
350ml of cider vinegar
150ml of fish sauce
500g of granulated sugar
Place on a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for approximately 40 minutes, stirring regularly so the chutney doesn't catch. Once it has reached a jam-like consistency, remove from the heat and ladle into sterilised jars to cool. Store until required
Once the pork is cooked, increase the oven temperature to 200°C/gas mark 6 and cook for an extra 8-10 minutes so the crackling bubbles up nicely
If you are having trouble with the crackling, simply add a splash of oil to a hot heavy-based frying pan and add the pork skin-side down, making sure you press down evenly to get the entire surface well-crackled. Once you are happy with the crackling, leave the pork to rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the chutney and your choice of greens
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