About this recipe:Succulent moist tender pork with light and crispy crackling. It is served with the most delicious sauce that will impress your family or your dinner party guests! It is extremely easy with very little preparation. You can even prepare the pork belly in advance by slow-roasting it the day before and finish cooking just before serving.
1kg pork belly
3 medium onions or 3 green apples, or a mixture of both
3 teaspoons coarse salt flakes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the sauce
75g brown sugar
125ml red wine vinegar
3 star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
pan juices, reserved from roasting the pork
juice of 1 orange
3 slices of orange peel
250ml chicken stock
salt and peppper to taste
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Preheat oven to 150 C / Gas 2. Place two long pieces of foil in a roasting tin or baking dish. You will use these to wrap up the pork later.
Slice peeled onions or peeled apples in half and place on foil. Cut them so that the pork is resting on a flat discs of onions or apples, and so that your guests get half of an onion or apple each.
Remove all moisture from pork rind by dabbing with kitchen paper. This will ensure the pork rind crackles perfectly. Mix salt flakes and oil and rub all over pork belly, including the rind. Work into the crevices, covering all of the pork. Place pork, rind side up, on top of apples and/or onions.
Gather up the foil so that is surrounds the pork but leaves the top rind exposed. The foil should make a close nest around the pork to prevent it from drying out and gather the juices while it's cooking, but at the same time allow the pork rind to crackle.
Place in preheated oven and cook for 3 hours. Turn oven temp down to 140 C / Gas 1 and cook for another hour. Remove from oven and pour the cooking juices into a small saucepan; set the juices aside until you're ready to make the sauce. Do not baste the pork at any time while cooking.
Finally, before serving, place the pork back into oven and cook at 220 C / Gas 7 for another 20 mins. This will make the crackling perfect.
To make the sauce: Add brown sugar, red wine vinegar, star anise and 1/2 cinnamon stick to the pan juices. Bring to the boil and simmer until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Add juice from 1 orange, 3 slices of orange peel and 250ml chicken stock. Bring back to the boil; simmer until reduces in volume. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove orange rind, star anise and cinnamon stick before serving.
The secret to the crackling is to 1) get your butcher to score the rind quite finely, 2) ensure the rind is free of moisture and 3) don't cover or baste the pork rind at any time while it is cooking in the oven.
You can use any herb rub with the oil and salt. Add rosemary and rest the pork on garlic, or add star anise to the onion. Any of your favourite pork flavours will go well with this recipe
You can also use the pan juices to make a traditional gravy by mixing the juices with hot water in a saucepan and use cornflour to thicken.