Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Roast Pork Belly with Spiced Apple and Sultana Sauce

Pork belly in the 2010's is what lamb shanks were in the 2000's and sundried tomatoes were in the 1990's (do you remember lamb shanks a decade ago, before they became almost as expensive as prime leg cuts? Or a restaurant dish in the 90's which DIDN'T contain sundried tomatoes?). It's cheap to buy, versatile and completely delicious, but needs to be cooked low and slow to allow as much fat as possible to render away, leaving you with crispy skin, firm white flesh and soft, cartilaginous layers of scumptiousness.

In the centre of Chinatown in Gerrard St, Soho, there is a supermarket called Loon Fung, with a butchery section right at the back of the store (not a particularly good shop for other stuff, but the butcher is a rare find), which sells all of the most terrifying parts of the pig - flank, ears, intestines, snout etc. In fact, pork belly is by far the most 'normal' cut of meat they sell,  and it is very cheap - £3.75 per kilo in fact.

So, before the belly goes the way of the lamb shank and becomes as expensive as pork loin, you had better start enjoying it now. Otherwise you'll have to start making roast pork intestines instead - and I'm not so sure your friends will be saying 'Wow' for the right reasons.

The spiced apple and sultana sauce is really my Apple Strudel filling recipe, but goes so well to cut the richness of this dish. The cost (currently) of this whole dish comes in at a ridiculously cheap £1.50 per serving. You could also serve some steamed vegetables and boiled potatoes with it and still come in way under budget. Oink Oink!

Delicious served with my Roasted, Spiced Butternut Squash.

Serves 4

Roast Pork Belly


1.5kg pork belly
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
6 bay leaves
Pinches of salt and pepper

Make 1cm wide long slashes in the skin of the belly and cut the belly into individual servings. Cook the belly pieces in boiling water for 30 minutes. Remove the belly pieces from the water and allow to cool and get bone dry - wipe with paper towels to get rid of any excess surface water. Preheat oven to 240c. Rub garlic powder, rosemary and thyme onto the meat only, not the skin. Lay bay leaves on the bottom of a roasting pan and place the belly pieces on top. Carefully pour oil into the skin cuts and wipe any residue off the surface of the skin. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook in the hot oven for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until the skin is crispy and golden. Serve with the spiced apple and sultana sauce.


Spiced Apple and Sultana Sauce


2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered
50g sultanas
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Place the ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 4 minutes on high power. Mix together until you have a smooth sauce and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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