Now, I’m not usually one to re-post other recipes but I have just finished wolfing down what is one of the most delicious dishes I’ve cooked in a while and had to share.
For my first ever attempt at cooking pork belly (yes, yes, pork belly is apparently the only cut of meat to eat these days), I utilised the sacrilicious crisp pork belly with caramel vinegar recipe of Bill Granger. Thanks, Bill.
Step one on your journey to ingestible heaven: start telling porkies. I used a 400gm piece of pork belly (try and get the end of the belly that has slightly less fat on it. The skin will still be shatteringly crisp, and you won’t be downing what seems like the fat of one thousand animals). Score the skin (stop before you hit the meat itself) at about 1cm intervals (this will also help when you’re slicing the pork later on) and then rub a good few teaspoons of salt all over the skin. Leave for 30 mins.
Step two: it’s roasting time. Set your oven to 220 degrees (fan forced). Wipe the salt off the pork skin and dry well, with kitchen paper. Lightly oil a tray and place the pork skin side down – don’t worry, I too was sceptical that this would result in a limp, juicy skin as opposed to the crisp, crackly, airy delight I was expecting. Whack in the oven for 30 mins. Turn the oven down to 190 degrees and continue baking for a further 30 mins. At this point, turn the pork over so the skin is facing up and roast for a further 20 mins or until the skin is crackly. Take out of the oven and let it hang out for around 20 mins.
Step three: this gives you just enough time to steam some rice and make a delectably sweet, saucy caramel syrup to accompany (oh.. and veggies if you really must). In a saucepan, pile in 1/2 cup of brown sugar along with 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, a cinnamon stick and 2 star anise, and boil on high for about 5 mins until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has evaporated to be slick and syrupy. Pour in about 1/2 cup of chicken stock and the juice of an orange and – same process again – reduce until deliciously thick. I slipped in a few slices of a long red chilli right at the end to add a bit of colour and a smack of freshness.
Step four: 2, 4, 6, 8 – dig in, don’t wait. Slice your deliciously-rested and juicy pork and place atop a mound of rice. Drizzle with the syrup, discarding the cinnamon and star anise, of course! Eat ravenously.