Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crispy Pork Belly

This is based on Bill Granger recipe (Holidays, page 112).  I did consider Shaun Rankin's version in my new recipe book but his called for using about 2lb of salt which seemed a bit extreme and I didn't have it.

The pork belly came from my local butchers' at Forest Stores who helpfully scored the rind more to allow the 2 tablespoons of salt to soak in.  Bill says to leave the belly salting for 30 mins.  Given how long the pork needed to be in the oven (2 hours 20 mins plus 15 mins resting) that wasn't going to work for me - we'd have eaten at 10pm.  As a compromise, I salted it before I went to work and left it in the fridge.

When I got home, I turned on the oven to 220C (200C for a fan oven) and washed the salt off the pork. I dried it with paper towel and then put it in a deep roasting tim.  Drizzled with olive oil (to stop it sticking) and seasoned with more Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The pork went into the pan skin side down and then into the oven for 30 mins.  Given that the piece of pork was not as big as Bill's I decide that I wouldn't need quite as long (and didn't have enough time anyway) so once it had done it's first 30 mins I turned the oven down to 190C (should have been 170C for a fan oven) for an hour.  Whilst it was cooking, I cut some Maris Piper potatoes into wedges (no peeling), drizzled them with olive oil and salt and put them on the top shelf of the oven having moved the pork to the middle shelf.  After the hour, I moved turned the pork over, moved it to the top shelf, gave the potatoes another 10 mins on the middle shelf.  Having removed the potatoes, I cooked up some sweet local carrots.  The pork came out of the oven after another 10 mins and rested very briefly whilst I made gravy from the carrot water and dished up the rest.

There was enough pork for us plus one other (still in the fridge waiting for me to decide what to do with it).  I'd give it about 4.5 for prep, Bonzo and I both gave it an 8,Wrigglebottom gave it a 9 even though she found the potatoes a bit salty so about 13 overall.  It was sweet, salty and had great crackling.  I'd definitely do this one again but on the weekend so that I could cook it long and slow and let it rest which I think would have made all the difference to the texture.

Bon appetit!

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