My all time favourite pork belly recipe is that of Jamie Oliver, which you can find here Jamie Olivers Pork Belly Recipe
However, I had to serve 20 people a 2-course meal and timing was of the essence. I had to find a way to reduce serving time without compromising taste. I came across this recipe by Chef Simon Hulstone (Pork belly with apple recipe) where you debone and compress the pork belly, portion it and crisp the skin just before serving. I combined the ingredients on both recipes, but followed the method of Simon Hulstone. Even better is that you start this recipe 2 days prior with not much effort, giving you plenty of time to bring other elements of your dinner party together.
- 1.5kg pork belly, skin and bone left on
- 50g of sea salt
- 3 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
- 4 sticks of celery, roughly sliced
- 2 bulb of garlic, peeled and roughly crushed
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 10 white peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 star anise
- chicken stock to cover
- 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 250g button mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 560ml red wine
- 25g flour
- 25g butter, softened
- vegetable oil
- Rub the sea salt into the pork belly and leave overnight in the fridge, or for 12 hours. In the morning rub off the salt and rinse of any excess under cold running water.
- Place the pork belly in a deep roasting tray, arranging all the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Cover with chicken stock and braise in the oven at 140°C for 3 ½ hours. The belly is done when you can pierce the flesh easily.
- Remove from the oven and allow cooling in the stock. Line a tray with greaseproof paper and carefully transfer the pork belly onto a tray, skin-side down.
- Remove all of the rib bones and white cartilage. Place a sheet of greaseproof on top of the pork belly, lay a flat tray on top and weigh down with 4-5kg (butter, drinks, or heavy fruit work well) to press the belly in the fridge overnight.
- Pass the remaining stock through a fine sieve and reduce by half. Store in a container until needed.
- The following morning cut the pressed pork into 6 equal squares, enough for each person and place back in the fridge until required.
- For the sauce, heat some vegetable oil in a thick-bottomed pan over a high heat. Fry the shallots and mushrooms until golden. Be careful not to burn them or it will make your sauce bitter.
- Once golden, stir in tomato paste and after about 10 seconds add the wine and reduce until it just coats the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved pork cooking liquor and bring up to the boil.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour and butter together so it forms a paste.
- Once the pork sauce has come to the boil, gradually whisk in the flour and butter mix, pea-sized amounts each time. You might not need all of it, just enough to make the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a thick-bottomed ovenproof pan, without oil, and add the pork belly, skin-side down. Place a small tray over the pan to guard against the spitting pan. Be careful: it will get very hot!
- Once the skin starts to colour, place the pan into a hot oven and leave for 15 minutes. Check to see if it’s hot by using a temperature probe, it should read 65°C
I served this dish with red cabbage, mash potatoes with caramalised fennel and garlic and sprouting broccoli.