Pork belly with cannellini beans and salsa verde


This slow-cooked pork belly recipe is bursting with the flavours of Italian summer – crunchy fennel, fresh salsa verde and braised cannellini beans, which are made extra tasty from the rendered pork fat. Though you need a good couple of hours to cook it properly, it's simple and delicious – perfect for a dinner party where you want to spend time with your guests.

First published in 2019

Pork belly strips are easily available from every supermarket, yet people don't always know what to do with them. This is a great example of getting the most from your pork belly – first the strips are browned off in a pan for colour, then they're gently braised until tender, so the ribbons of fat melt into the beans giving them unbelievable flavour for such a simple recipe.

A punchy salsa verde is whipped up at the end and folded through the beans, cutting through the rich meaty flavour and giving the dish a wonderful Italian summer vibe. Enjoy with a chilled glass of your favourite white wine.




Cannellini beans

Salsa verde

Raw fennel salad


  • Pestle and mortar
  • Mandoline


At least one hour before cooking, but preferably the evening before, marinate the pork with the fennel rub. Using a mortar and pestle, grind up the fennel seeds, peppercorns and salt to a coarse rub. Fold in the lemon zest then apply evenly over each of the pork belly strips. Cover and leave to cure overnight
Also the evening before, place the beans in a bowl of water so they are submerged by about 5cm and leave to soak overnight in the fridge
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Rinse the cure off the pork belly with cold water to prevent it tasting too salty, then pat dry thoroughly with kitchen towel
Place a pan over a high heat with a splash of oil, and once smoking add the pork belly and colour each strip on all sides. You may need to cook the pork belly in batches to make sure your pan stays hot
Drain the beans and place in a large overproof dish with the stock, rosemary, sage, garlic and shallot
Once the pork belly strips are well caramelised all over, place them on top of the beans and cover with a lid or tin foil. Place in the oven and cook for 60–90 minutes or until the beans are cooked through
After about 45 minutes, remove the lid or tin foil to let the stock reduce
To make the salsa verde, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper
Prepare a quick shaved fennel salad by shaving the fennel finely on a mandoline and place into a bowl of ice water to crisp up. Just before serving, drain the fennel and dress with a squeeze of lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil
Once the beans are cooked through, remove the pork from the top and then fold through the salsa verde
Divide the beans between your plates, top with pork belly and finish with some shaved fennel salad
First published in 2019

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