Crispy slow-cooked pork belly with pumpkin mash and black sesame

4
4 hours

Ingredients

Pork belly

  • 800g of pork belly
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 lemons, juice and peel (with white pith removed)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • coarse sea salt, a large pinch
  • pepper

Classic dashi

  • 10g of bonito flakes, (katsuobushi)
  • kombu, a sheet around the size of a postcard
  • 1l water, filtered if possible

Pumpkin mash

  • 900g of pumpkin, skin-on (or use sweet potato)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 100ml of milk
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper

For the gravy

  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp seven spice powder, preferably S&B
  • 1 knob of ginger, thumb-sized, finely minced
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 dried chilli, medium
  • 1 tbsp of ponzu
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • salt

To serve

  • black sesame seeds
  • spring onions, julienned
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced

Method

1
The night before serving, prick the fat of the pork belly with a knife to create many holes. Add the lemon juice and peel, pepper sauce and minced garlic to a bowl and mix well
2
Spread the mixture all over the meat and finally sprinkle the coarse salt on the skin only. Leave covered overnight in the fridge
3
Now make the dashi. Wipe the kombu down with a slightly damp cloth to remove any impurities and residues from the surface, but keep the white film as it gives the umami flavour to the liquid
4
Add the kombu to the cold water in a medium pan and leave immersed for about 20–30 minutes
5
After this time, turn on the heat and allow the water to boil very gently. Just before the water boils, remove the kombu (if you leave it in the stock will turn slimy and bitter). Now add the bonito flakes to the hot liquid
6
Simmer for 5 minutes then switch off the heat
7
Remove the bonito flakes from the pan and strain through a very fine sieve into a clean container. The stock is now ready to use and should be completely clear
8
When ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2 for 30 minutes
9
Place the meat in a clean ovenproof tray on top of the onions and add 425ml of the dashi. Bake on low temperature for 3 hours, occasionally checking there's enough dashi to keep the meat succulent
10
About 2 hours or so into cooking, place the pumpkin or sweet potato in a lined ovenproof tray (with the skin left on), add a little oil, season with salt and pepper, and place in the oven with the meat for about 50 minutes, or until pumpkin or sweet potato is golden and tender
11
Remove any skin and using a potato masher or a fork, thoroughly mash the flesh until smooth and fluffy. Add the butter, milk, and 50ml of dashi, mixing until smooth (add a little more dashi if needed)
12
Sprinkle in a little nutmeg, mix well and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm while the meat finishes cooking
13
When the pork has been cooking for 3 hours, raise the heat of the oven to the maximum to make the fat crispy. It's ready when the skin puffs and is super crispy and golden. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before slicing
14
While the meat is resting, make the gravy. Add all of the ingredients to a pan, along with the pan juices from the pork and a little more dashi if needed. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until reduced
15
To serve, place the mash onto a large serving platter and slice the pork belly. Place the pork on top of the mash and garnish with spring onions, black sesame, and a few sliced red chillies. Serve the gravy on the side