How to roast whole pork belly
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
Pretty much all chefs agree that pork belly is an amazing cut of meat. It is called by different names, pork belly, belly pork, whole pork belly, boned pork belly and even belly draft. There are equally lots of different ways to cook it, usually ways which end in flames and smoke.This method is easier and safer, and the slow roasting gives it a wonderful flavour and texture. All the juices are caught in the tray which means you can make a wonderful rich apple sauce after, ideally using some capers, sage and gherkins if you’re feeling adventurous, but you can do just about any other variant you want.
This recipe lends more than a helping hand to Glynn Purnell’s excellent Cracking Yolks and Pig Tales, which we were recently introduced to and simply can’t get enough of.
Roast Pork Belly with Apple and Caper Sauce
- 2kg piece of boneless pork belly
- Half a shallot, or small sweet onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons of small baby capers
- 100ml apple juice (a couple of good lugs)
- 1 Bramley Apple (English), peeled, cored and diced
- Half a tablespoon chopped sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (ideally flatleaf)
- 1 teaspoon double cream
- Knob of butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Mashed potatoes and cabbage or spinach to serve
Place the pork skin side up, on a roasting rack in a roasting tin and prick and stab it all over with a fork, ideally a roasting fork as that will penetrate the skin. Season all over with salt, and set to one side for at least 60 mins.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC Fan/Gas Mark 5.
The skin might have some moisture on it which the salt has drawn out, so just give it a pat with some kitchen towel if it does, and then season all over with salt and black pepper.
Roast for about 2 hours, or until the pork is very tender. Take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for at least 20-30 mins, covering it with foil or a tea-towel (or both).
Add the shallot to the juices in the roasting tin and cook over a gentle heat on the hob until they are nice and soft. Add in the capers and the apple juice and cook at a low simmer until the liquid reduces to something like a sauce consistency.
Add the apple, sage, parsley, cream and butter and stir for a few minutes on a very low heat. Keep this warm until you are ready to serve.
Place the pork skin side up, under a hot grill to get the skin nice and crispy. You need to watch it all the time at this point to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Carve the pork and arrange the slices on plates, with a spoon of the sauce over the top. Serve with some mashed potatoes, and some spinach or cabbage tossed in butter.