Posh Pork: My slow-roasted pork belly.

by cookingbrains09

slow roasted porkbelly (1 of 1)Succulent meat that falls apart by just looking at it. A salty and crunchy crackling. An aromatic sweet sauce, with a hint of good ale that is what it takes to turn any Sunday great. My slow-roasted pork belly is as easy as making toast – it just takes a little longer. So, while you enjoy a relaxed morning – or a hard-earned evening wait with excitement as your kitchen and your house will fill with the aromatic scent that only a good roast can bring.

This post is out of the ordinary, wrong date – wrong picture. That is because it was unexpected. With unexpected I don’t mean that it just fell out of thin air, because pork bellies don’t have a reputation to be spontaneous materializers. Instead, this dish required some pre-planning, purchasing, dry marinating, wiping, and hours of roasting in a tiny oven. So, judging by the amount of pre-thought I put into it, it might be considered anything but unexpected. It was unexpected in how it made its way on the blog. Because while I planned to feature this dish some time in the future, I didn’t not plan on doing it now -the first time I made it. But when it came out of the oven, steaming and sizzling I was so pleased that I decided to screw the rules I had imposed on myself and just go for it. Luckily I did snap a couple of pictures from our lunch-table, unfortunately most of them came out badly. So instead of the whole dish with roasted potatoes, and an outstanding gravy, all you get is a thick slice of fatty pork. Succulent, crispy, salty and intensely delicious.

It all comes down to the meat, I believe. For this dish I used a nice, relatively thin cut of pork belly from our local, organic butcher. The meat is a little more expensive, but once you open the little brown paperbag it comes in, you will notice the difference. Good meat has a scent, an almost spicy quality. The fat should be white, and somewhat smooth. My butcher removed the slightly tough outer layer of skin, so that we were left with the bare fat – that’s a matter of preference I suppose (his, not mine – might I add-  they just sell it like this, and I’m not smart enough to ask questions). The roasting of the meat itself couldn’t be easier, all it takes is a little salt and the cutting of some onions. The meat requires a little bit of supervision for the first hour, but for the last 2.5 it will just do its thing without needing as much as a single thought of you. So other than having to be at home (or not even that if you trust your oven) your work for the day is done.

My slow-roasted pork

Per person plan for about 400 g of pork, 33cl of ale, and one onion. Depending on the eater – expect some left-overs. Allow for about 3 hours of roasting and half an hour of rest. As for the left-over fat: store it over night in your fridge and use it for extra flavour when you fry, or as a spread.

  • Organic pork-belly
  • Onion
  • Apple
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A bottle of strong pale Ale ( I used a nice Belgian Duvel)
  • Chicken stock
  1. The night before your big feast score the lard with a very sharp knife, leaving deep, diamond shaped cuts. Make sure that you do not cut all the way to the flesh – leave a little fatty shield. Generously salt the meat from all sides, rub the salt it. Crush some fresh pepper and rub into the meat – do not apply to the lard. Wrap in cling-film and allow to rest in the fridge over night.
  2. Using a tea-towel, pat dry the lard.
  3. Chop the onions and the apple and place in the bottom of a baking tray, where you can stuff holes and crevices of the meat with little garlic cloves, scatter a hand full of garlic on the tray. Place the pork on top.
  4. Pop into a hot oven (about 220°C will do) – for about 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure that the fat turns sizzling hot and deeply brown. Shift the tray so that the pork browns evenly.
  5. Cover with aluminate foil or parchment paper and bake at 140°C for about 2-2.5 hours.
  6. For the last half hour remove the cover, baste the crackling with salt-water for the most glorious crackling.
  7. Leave the meat to rest for about half an hour.
  8. Remove all excess fat from the baking tray and retain for future cooking, or as a spread.
  9. Pour half of the ale into the tray, and scrape off all residual. Transfer to a sauce pan, add the remaining ale and allow to simmer. Add a bit of chicken stock, and using a handheld blender create a smooth sauce. If it should be too runny, let reduce – if it is too thick add some more ale or chicken stock.
  10. Serve the meat with the sauce, and maybe have some green beans or roasted potatoes with it.
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