Pork belly with apple purée and sprouting broccoli

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Pork belly has become a fixture on many menus over the last few years and its success can be put down to its intense, umami flavour and crispy crackling. Simon Hulstone's pork belly with apple recipe brings the best out of the cut, serving with a swoosh of apple purée and purple sprouting broccoli.

First published in 2015




Pork belly

Apple purée

Purple sprouting broccoli



Rub the sea salt into the pork belly and leave overnight in the fridge, or for 12 hours. In the morning rub off the salt and rinse of any excess under cold running water
Place the pork belly in a deep roasting tray, arranging all the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Cover with chicken stock and braise in the oven at 140°C/gas mark 1 for 3 ½ hours. The belly is done when you can pierce the flesh easily
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the stock. Line a tray with greaseproof paper and carefully transfer the pork belly onto a tray, skin-side down
Remove all of the rib bones and white cartilage. Place a sheet of greaseproof on top of the pork belly, lay a flat tray on top and weigh down with 4-5kg (butter, drinks, or heavy fruit work well) to press the belly in the fridge overnight
Pass the remaining stock through a fine sieve and reduce by half, be careful if you used powder stock, as it will become quite salty. Store in a container until needed
The following morning cut the pressed pork into 6 equal squares, enough for each person and place back in the fridge until required
For the apple purée, peel and core the apples and place into a high-sided tray. Add butter, sugar, a sprinkle of salt and 50ml of water
Place into an oven at 180°C/gas mark 4. Cook until the apples have a mushy texture, approximately 25-35 minutes
Carefully pour into a jug blender and blitz until smooth. Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and sugar as desired
Pass through a fine sieve and store in the fridge until needed
To prepare the broccoli, remove the outer leaves, leaving the florets attached to the stalk. Remove 1cm from the bottom part of the stalk - the woody part of the vegetable
Blanch in heavily salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Check they are done by using the tip of the knife to pierce the stems: it should go in with a little resistance. Refresh in ice water, drain and leave in the fridge until required
For the sauce, heat some vegetable oil in a thick-bottomed pan over a high heat. Fry the shallots and mushrooms until golden. Be careful not to burn them or it will make your sauce bitter
Once golden, stir in tomato paste and after about 10 seconds add the wine and reduce until it just coats the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved pork cooking liquor and bring up to the boil
Meanwhile, mix the flour and butter together so it forms a paste
  • 25g of flour
  • 25g of butter, softened
Once the pork sauce has come to the boil, gradually whisk in the flour and butter mix, pea-sized amounts each time. You might not need all of it, just enough to make the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Heat a thick-bottomed pan, without oil, and add the pork belly, skin-side down. Place a small tray over the pan to guard against the spitting pan. Be careful: it will get very hot
Once the skin starts to colour, place the pan into a hot oven and leave for 15 minutes. Check to see if it’s hot by using a temperature probe, it should read 65°C
Meanwhile, reheat the purée and sauce until hot. Prepare a pan of boiling water and melt the butter in a wide pan for the broccoli
Just before serving, drop the broccoli into the boiling water. Remove after 30 seconds and then toss in the melted butter and season with salt
To serve, spoon the purée onto plates, followed by the broccoli and pork belly. Drizzle over the sauce and serve immediately
First published in 2015

Simon Hulstone's aesthetically pleasing and rewarding cuisine can be found in Torquay at The Elephant, which holds a Michelin star.

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