My friend, Tanya, from The Kitchen Bench, contributed another worth trying and worth dying for recipe, roast pork belly. I believe most people have done pork belly at home, but read on to discover what Tanya has to say about pork bellies.
Tanya’s cooking skills and culinary techniques is a treasure from her Italian heritage. Now, having her first cookbook, Blending the Cultures, due to be published and released next week, Tanya’s recipe today may give you some preview of this fantastic new book.
Roast Pork Belly with Prosciutto and Sage
with a Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad (Serves 2)
As i sit here with my glass of icy cold pinot grigio on this warm summers afternoon I feel intoxicated, not because of the wine I am enjoying (although a few more glasses and that may be the case) but due to the smell wafting from my small kitchen oven. My pork belly is busily crackling away in the oven and the smells, oh my goodness the sweet smell. There is something to be said about the simplicity and joy that a roast can bring someone as it cooks away in the oven and today it is my roast pork belly stuffed with prosciutto and sage that is tantalising the tastebuds and senses.
Whilst a Sunday roast is not a tradition I uphold every week, when I get the odd quiet weekend I will often take the chance to cook one and today was an opportunity to experiment with a piece of pork belly. As opposed to my normal approach with pork which is drying out the skin and then salting and roasting I decided to try out a method of first boiling the skin in water to enhance my ability to derive a good crunch. I must admit the result has been very successful and one I will use again.
I hope you enjoy the recipe I am sharing with you, my husband who is not usually the biggest fan of a roast pork really did enjoy this and I think pairing it with my shaved fennel salad was the winner. On a warm summers day fennel which is always a winner when married with pork, uncooked was the perfect accompaniment.
1 x 600g pork belly roast, untied
3 sage leaves sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 rosemary stalk
6 pieces of prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into lengths
1 stick of celery cut into long strips
1 onion, sliced thinly
Lets start cooking
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius
2. Score the skin of the pork belly, if you are not sure how to do this or don’t have a knife sharp enough ask your butcher to do it for you. This is important in getting a good crackle.
3. Fill a flame proof baking pan with 1 cm of water and bring to boil on the stove, place the pork belly skin side down into the water and allow to cook fro 1 minute. Remove from water and set to one side.
4. In a mortar and pestle prepare the paste for the pork by placing the garlic, fennel seeds, pinch of salt and the finely cut sage and rosemary. Pound into a paste.
5. Rub the pork belly with the paste, do not rub the skin just the underside or meat. Massage it into the meat.
6. Then in your baking tray (make sure the water you discard the water from the step above) place the carrot, onion and celery. Then on top of the vegetables place the pork belly, skin side up. Rub the skin with salt.
7. Place the pork belly in the preheated oven at 170 degrees for 5o minutes, then turn the heat of the oven to 250 degrees celsius and cook for a further 30 minutes. You may find that if you are not getting a good crackle on the skin of the pork that you will need to turn your oven to grill, this should get the crackling to a good consistency but just make sure you watch it closely or else it may burn.
8. Serve with potato wedges and my Shaved fennel salad especially in summer when you are looking for something just that little bit lighter.
Tip #1 – cooking the pork in water skin down for 1 minute helps to develop a good crackle on the pork.
Tip #2 – if you are cooking for more than 2 people, say 6 then I would use at least 3 carrots, 2 onions and 2 celery sticks and obviously a larger piece of pork belly say 2 to 2.5kg. Adjust the cooking time based on the following, 500g = 30 minutes.
Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad (serves 4)
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced finely
2 small fennel bulbs, cleaned and shaved
100g feta cheese, cubed
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
3 large leaves of silver beet, finely sliced
Lets start cooking
1. Combine the apple, fennel, silver beet and lemon juice and olive oil and allow to marinate in a large bowl for 30 minutes.
2. When ready to serve mix through the feta cheese.
Tip # 1 – if you don’t like a lot of lemon juice then I would cut it back to the juice of 1 lemon.