Don't you just love pork belly? It seems that now matter how you cook it, it is always good. The males in this house start drooling as soon as I even say the word pork belly!!
I found a recipe in August's Good Food Magazine - it looked really easy - just took a little bit of prep and a lot of cooking. Now this is definitely a weekend dish - you need to rub the spices into the skin and leave it for several hours, plus it takes around 3 hours in the oven - so it's not a dish you can whip up on quickly a weeknight!!
Slow Roasted Pork Belly
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 tbs sea salt
1.5kg piece pork belly, skin on, scored
12 eschalots, peeled
12 cloves garlic, whole
Coarsely grind the cumin seeds, star anise, fennel seeds and the salt in a mortar and pestle. Rub the spice mixture into the skin of the pork. If possible do this several hours ahead of time - leave in the fridge. This helps draw out excess moisture and produces a really crisp crackling.
When you are ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 140C (fan). Place the pork, skin side down in a heavy based roasting pan. Roast for 2 hours.
After the 2 hours, increase the oven temperature to 220C (fan). Turn the pork over so that the skin is facing up. Add the eschalots and garlic to the roasting pan. Roast, basting regularly with the pan juices for another 30 minutes, or until the skin is lovely and crispy. **
Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.
While the meat is resting make the gravy.
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
To make the gravy, heat the baking dish over medium heat. Add the white wine, scraping the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced by two thirds. Crush the eschalots and garlic and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.
** At this time if you are making roast potatoes add them to the oven. Roasted Kipfler potatoes are really good. Kipfler potatoes are lovely golden fleshed, waxy potatoes. Simply peel, toss in a little olive oil and crushed garlic, then roast for 30 minutes.
Another good addition is some baked apples. Peel and core 3 granny smith apples, make 3 individual squares of foil place an apple in each square. To the apple add several knobs of butter, and 1 dessertspoon of brown sugar and a small handful of sultanas. Wrap tightly and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Now after this lovely roast dinner you just have to have dessert right? What could be better than a Rhubarb Crumble??
Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble
1 bunch of rhubarb, leaves removed, cut into small segments
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 punnet of strawberries, hulled and cut in half
2tbs caster sugar, extra
150g butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1/3 brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
Place the rhubarb pieces in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the sugar and leave for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C (fan). Cover the rhubarb and bake for 20 minutes, or until he rhubarb starts to soften slightly. Add the strawberries and extra caster sugar, mix well and bake for a further 10 minutes.
While the rhubarb and strawberries are cooking make the crumble mixture.
Add all crumble ingredients to a bowl. Using your fingertips gently rub the butter between the tips of your thumbs and fingers, so that the butter flattens and combines with the flour. While rubbing, lift your fingers above the bowl to allow air to cool the butter. Make sure you work quickly to prevent the butter from melting too much.
Place the crumble mixture on top of the cooked fruit. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crumble is lovely and golden.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Baking the rhubarb as opposed to stewing it results in a lovely rich rhubarb flavour.
ps - I think I am going to have to sack my food stylists - they didn't style this dish too well did they???