Belly for my Belly

Some time ago I enjoyed a small tasting of pork belly in a fine restaurant. Ever since then I’ve considered giving it a go myself but never seemed to come across the cut anywhere, even local butchers never seemed to have it. Thanks to numerous cooking shows inspiring people everywhere to explore new territory in the kitchen, I stumbled across some in my supermarket. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but had to put it in the trolley.

A quick search of the web led me to many a recipe, mostly Asian-inspired and quite time consuming, usually requiring overnight marinading or complicated cooking processes. I came across one that seemed a lot less complex. With a bit of tweaking (this one is gluten-free and a little easier) my end result was delicious. Typically for me, by the time I got to making the sauce I added a few things without really measuring – sorry – but this should get you close if you want to give it a try. I actually served mine with a roast pork medallion, bacon and some crispy cracking. Pork three ways – can you really go wrong? Add some apple and onion puree and yummmm. Not a great picture sorry.

Braised Pork Belly – served with pork medallion, crackling and an apple and onion puree.

Braised Pork Belly

Pork:

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 750g pork belly
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (gluten free)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ½ cup beef stock (gluten free)
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 160˚C.
  2. Heat oil on high in a large casserole disk suitable for stove and oven (otherwise use a frying pan and transfer to an oven dish you can cover).
  3. Add pork belly and sear until browned on both sides.
  4. Remove pork and put it on a plate. Add celery, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns and sweat on medium low until soft, about 6 minutes.
  5. Return the pork to the pot, add the red wine and stock and simmer about 6 more minutes.
  6. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then cover and place it in the oven for 2 to 2.5 hours. Turn the pork every 30 minutes or so. The liquid should be just simmering, if it’s boiling when you turn it, reduce the heat slightly. If too much liquid has disappeared, add more.
  7. When the pork is very tender, remove pork from the liquid and refrigerate. Chilling will help to set it which will help with serving later.

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot
  • ½ cup wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  1. Place the pan back on the stove.
  2. Blend the arrowroot in some of the liquid then add all to the sauce and stir until it boils.  If too thick add additional water, stock or wine to taste. If too thin continue to simmer until sauce reduces.
  3. Strain the liquid through a strainer to remove the vegetables.
  4. Before serving pork, cut into portions. Season skin with salt then warm in oven before placing under the grill to crispen slightly. Then serve.
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