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Posts Tagged ‘Crackling’

We don’t make a roast dinner every week but we do like one occasionally, especially in the brighter months when you can lighten them up a bit with some spring veg. Ask your butcher to score the pork skin for you, then leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, which will help with the crispy crackling.

Wine suggestion: Quite often we have an oaky white with roast pork but tonight we had a notion for red and a 6 year old Olga Raffault Chinon Les Pucasses which was just hitting it’s stride and will be drinking nicely for another 10 years we think. Deep , complex and brooding and yet the limestone soils give it an immediate freshness and vivacity.

Roast pork belly with herbs & new potatoes – serves 4

  • 3-4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg thick end of pork belly, bone in, skin completely dry (see above)
  • 300g new potatoes
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of peas or broad bean tops if available (we didn’t have these but we served with some double podded broad beans instead)
  • juice of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind. Score the skin and fat (but not the flesh) of the pork with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn’t done this for you already.

Put the pork into a roasting tray and rub allover with the crushed fennel seeds and some salt.

Put the pork into the oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin, then reduce the heat to 160C/315F/Gas 2-3. Add half a glass of water to the tray and roast for a further 2 hours, until crispy and tender. You will need to keep checking the water and ensuring that the pan doesn’t dry out.

While the pork is roasting, halve the potatoes if they’re big and put into a saucepan with the mint stalks. Cover with salty water and simmer until just tender, then drain and return to the pan, discarding the mint stalks. Add the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Remove the cooked pork from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Add the chopped herbs to the potatoes and stir gently to coat, then spoon onto a warm platter. Slice the pork and arrange on the platter with the potatoes, then skim the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and spoon the juices over the pork and potatoes,.

If you have pea or bean tops, put them into a bowl and dress with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter these over the pork and serve. (We dressed our broad beans with some olive oil and lemon and served these alongside instead).

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Totally worth the effort and time, this just melted in the mouth. The roast potatoes done under the roasting pork belly worked a real treat and had that heavenly combination of meltingly fluffy and soft centres and a chewy-crunchy crust.

Roast pork – to feed 4-6

  • 1.8kg belly pork, skin on
  • about 8 dried bay leaves
  • 3-4 fat cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1kg potatoes
  • glass of white wine

Use a very sharp knife to score the skin. You need to go through the fat under the skin but don’t cut into the meat. This will give you delicious strips of crackling.

Crumble the bay leaves into tiny pieces, squash the garlic with the back of a knife, then mash to two together with a pestle and mortar. Add plenty of salt and black pepper. Add enough oil to make a spreadable paste. Place the pork skin side down and massage the paste into it, pushing it into every crevice. Leave the meat in a cool place for an hour or so to soak up the flavours.

Peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and drop them into salted boiling water. Cook until they are just tender, then drain and tip into a roasting tin. Shake them about to rough up the edges.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6. You need to cook the pork directly on the bars above the potatoes. Pour a bit of oil on the potatoes to prevent them from sticking, add a wine glass of water and toss, then put the roasting tin on the lower shelf. Put the pork directly on the top shelf, skin side down. Cook for an hour, turning the potatoes once. Check the pork for any pinkness and if necessary cook a little longer (it will probably take an hour and a half in total).

Turn the oven up to 250ºC/Gas 9. Turn the pork skin side up and continue to cook until the skin is puffed up and crispy. Take the meat from the oven and leave to rest. Take the potatoes out when they are really brown and sticky. Remove the potatoes form the roasting tin and pour in a glass of white wine. Bring to the boil on the hob, stirring well to get all the tasty bits from the bottom of the tin.

Cut the meat into thick chunks and serve with the potatoes, gravy and green salad or apple sauce.

Wine Suggestion: Go for a good-quality, full-bodied Chardonnay. We tried the Atarangi Craighall Chardonnay from New Zealand.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Appetite, Fourth Estate, 2000.)

We had leftovers the next day in a crusty bread roll … yum 🙂

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