Today has been a long one ... With two children in tow i made it to the butcher, paint shop and then bought the ingredients for a picnic. Quick stop back home to unpack food and make picnic before meeting new class mates at the park for 10.30.
Home for children to have quick sleep while I tidied the house, prepared food for tonight, argued with congestion charge about ticket, tried to find school uniform for tomorrow, dig out their fruit boxes (also for tomorrow) and fill in all forms i should have sent back to school a week ago... oops.
Quick visit to friends who have just got back from their hols and home to bung in the pork... It is definitely the best thing to cook when you are running short on time as it looks impressive but you don’t have to slave over the oven for hours.
I love pork belly with dauphinoise potatoes and garlic courgettes but today i am going to simply throw some new potatoes into a roasting pan and serve with peas ... so simple.
PORK BELLY - Serves 6
2.4kg Pork belly (400g per person, including the bones), 2 Large onions, 1 Tablespoon of coriander seeds, 1 Tablespoon of fennel seeds, 6 bay leaves, 200ml of water
- Heat oven to 180
- Place the bones in the bottom of a roasting tin that will fit the piece of pork belly. Don't worry it it is a snug fit as it will shrink down quite a bit when cooking.
- Leaving the skins on the onions slice them. The slices should be about 1cm thick, so you will end up with 4-5 slices per onion. Lay the slices on a roasting dish and place the bay leaves on top
- Score the skin of the pork belly, if it was not done when you bought it (most butchers will do this for you so ask). To score lines in the pork belly, if it was not already done, cut through the skin and a little bit of the fat, you don't want to cut the meat. The scores should be 1/2cm apart.
- In a mortal and pestle (or place in plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin or bottle of wine), crush the coriander seeds so they are all broken in half. Turn the pork belly over and sprinkle the coriander and fennel seeds over the pork. Using your hand push the seeds into the pork so that they stick when you transfer the pork to the roasting dish
- Pick the pork up and transfer to roasting dish. Pour the water into the side of the roasting dish
- Place in the oven
- Cooking time is four hours on the middle shelf of the oven. After half an hour turn the oven down to 160 and add a little more water. Check again every 30 minutes adding more water so that the pan never drys out. If the top of the pork is starting to look to crispy turn down the oven slightly.
- 15 mins before the end, turn the oven up to 200 so the crackling goes crispy
- Remove from oven and place on chopping board, cover with foil for ten minutes so meat can rest while you cook veg. I use a bread knife and cut the belly into 2cm strips so each person gets two-three generous strip of belly with some of the onion that cooked underneath it
- I am not a big gravy person, i pour the cooking liquid and any juices from the meat resting into a jug and serve
Not all of a whole pork belly has bones in it, therefore the weight changes depending on which piece of the pork belly you buy, some pieces have more bones and will be heavier. 400g is a guide, ask your butcher to advise you and show you the piece before you buy. Remember, it will shrink in the oven so buy more than you would expect to eat.
After you have agreed the weight with the butcher, ask them to remove the bones from the belly (keep them to use when cooking) and score the skin, i like mine in thin lines about 1/2cm apart.
If fennel and coriander don’t appeal try using garlic cloves (leave the skins on) and rosemary instead.