Pork belly with crackling is a favourite in our house, we love the crispy crackling and even though we usually can’t eat all the pork in one sitting we can manage the crackling. This pork is cooked long and slow so that the meat is tender and can be pulled apart with a couple of forks: pulled pork. I am not making a gravy out of the pan juices as it’s just too fatty and I prefer to have this with a dressing or pesto. I am doing sumac and sage roasted cauliflower plus some greens to go with the pork.
Ingredients for the pork.
A nice fat meaty piece of pork belly, if you can get it ready scored that is good.
1 tablespoon of Himalayan salt.
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds.
1 tablespoon of olive oil.
If your pork comes from the supermarket covered in plastic wrap it’s a good idea to remove the wrap and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, this dries out the skin and helps to make a better crackling. Put your pork into a roasting tray with a bit of oil in the bottom so it doesn’t stick. If your pork is not scored then use a craft knife to cut deep slashes right through the fatty part. I like to add a centimetre or two of water to the roasting pan to keep the meat moist during the first part of the cooking until enough fat is rendered out to stop it drying out. Then rub the salt and fennel seeds into all of the cracks and lastly slather with the olive oil. This goes into a hot oven 220c fan, for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 140c fan and leave for a further 4 hours. Meanwhile prep the dressing and cauliflower.This is a simple green dressing to go with the pork, you could equally use pesto with a bit of extra olive oil and lemon juice added.
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
100ml of good olive oil.
1 bunch of parsley.
Zest and juice the lemon, roughly chop the parsley leaves, discard the tough stems. Add everything to a small blender and blitz to emulsify and make a rich oily dressing, add salt to taste at the end. If you have leftovers it will keep in a jar in the refrigerator for a week and can be used on salads or vegetables.
Ingredients for the roast sumac and sage cauliflower.
3 tablespoons of coconut oil.
1 tablespoon of sumac. Sumac has a lemony taste and is fantastic on cauliflower. But if you don’t have it just make the roast cauliflower without it.
1 bunch of sage. I have both purple sage and some clary sage, but what ever you have is fine.
Chop the cauliflower into pieces and add to a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Sprinkle with the sumac. You may need to melt the oil first but it’s important to mix everything up to get a good coating of the oil and sumac over all the surfaces. This will go in the oven towards the end of the porks roasting time
Fry the sage until crispy in the other 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and reserve on a plate.
When the pork has had its 4 hours at 140c fan turn the oven back up to 220c fan and roast for another 20 minutes at the high heat to really crisp up the crackling. Do keep an eye on it though as you want it crisp not burnt. There will be a lot of fat in the bottom of the pan and the water underneath will have evaporated away.
After the 20 minutes remove the pork from the roasting pan to rest on a plate for 10 minutes. As there is quite a lot of fat in the roasting tray, you can save this for cooking with if you are brave. It’s what our grandmothers called lard and they used it all the time for frying.
Put the cauliflower in the oven while the oven is at the high heat of 220c fan, it will take about 30 minutes so continue to roast it while the pork is resting. Give it a little shake or stir half way through the cooking time to make sure it is evenly roasting. Add to a serving bowl and top with the fried sage leaves.I also cooked some broccolini to go with this roast lunch. If you don’t eat all the crackling on the first day it can be crisped up in a hot oven the next day. The left over pork can be pulled apart with two forks and served with salad or in my green wraps or……