19/06/2011

Belly Pork with Celeriac Mash and Green Vegetables

Seriously, is there anything better than belly pork?

Slow cooked, with its crisp rind, salty fat layer, then layers of darker meat and lighter meat, pork is delicious and a fantastic paleo source of protein and energy. The trick is slow cooking.

Let's cook some belly pork ...

Heat up your oven as high as it will go - mine goes up to 250C. That is a good starting point.


Prepare the belly pork by scoring the skin with a sharp knife or razor blade. Rub a generous amount of pure sea salt into the cracks. I use Maldon brand.

Place the belly pork with the skin side up onto a cooking rack over an overproof tray and drizzle just a little extra virgin olive oil over the skin.

Put the tray into the oven and close the door. Cook on that high heat for up to 30 minutes, until the skin is crackling up. If it has not done this within half an hour, don't worry ... we'll sort that out at the end. The pork will spit and crackle, explode even. Don't open the oven - leave it!

After the skin has crackled up or half an hour has passed, pour in a litre of water into the tray - this will help keep the pork really juicy.

Turn the temperature down to between 90C and 120C. Lower is better, but will require longer. On 120C cook for 3 hours, 100C for 4 and at 90C you can leave it in all day. The longer it is cooked, the better!

Whenever you are ready to eat simply prepare some vegetables. Celeriac and daikon mash is a great accompaniment, as is tenderstem broccoli and some cabbage.

If the skin has not crackled up, switch the grille on full and keep a close eye on the process so that the top does not burn.

Retrieve the pork from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes while you make a gravy from the juices in the tray. There will be a lot of fat in there, so pour the liquid into a more cylindrical container to skim off the floating fats. The remaining juices should be returned to the tray and heat up while you bring all the colour and flavour off the base of the tray. Thicken with a little arrowroot.

Plate up - vegetables first and then the gorgeous slices of belly pork, pouring the gravy over last. Cutlery is for vegetables, fingers are for meat! Get in there and get it in you belly!

4 comments :

  1. In the States, it's known as "Pork belly."

    US oven temps are (rounded):
    250C = 480F (setting is 475 or 500)
    120C = 250F
    100C = 210F
    90C = 195F

    Also, grille = broiler, I believe.

    I'm going to try this in a roaster oven and see how it turns out!

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  2. Thank you Jennifer - degrees of measurement are so varied around the world. Here in Britain (much like you guys over the pond in the US) it often depends on age whether a person thinks in Imperial or metric. Humorously, "our" Imperial is different to "your" Imperial when it comes to liquid :)

    I think in feet and inches, ounces and pounds ... and pints, of course (beer comes in pints) ... but then in feel temperature in centigrade!

    I think you are right with the broiler translation - basically, if the skin has not crackled up just leave it under an overhead flame/heat source for a few minutes keeping a close eye on it since it will crisp up in no time and even catch fire!

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  3. I can't believe I haven't commented on this before- I've use this pork belly method 3 times now. Always super simple and delicious and with very reliable crackling. It's my go to. Next time I'm going to do 90 degrees all day and see if more of the fat melts out though. I did 100 for 4 hours this time and 120 for 3 hours the time before and I definitely see an increase in the amount of fat that has melted out of the fatty layers.

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    Replies
    1. Superb! I'm glad you got good results.

      Regarding a long, slow cook, rather than crackling up at the end there are two other things you could do after the cooking is completed:

      1. Place the pork in a dish, lay a tray over and some weight on top. This will press the pork and it will cook up really well in slices the following day.

      2. Slice the fatty skin off, crispen up and enjoy as crackling. The flesh can be chilled overnight and enjoyed in a spicy stir fry.

      Have fun ...

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