Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Belly of Pork with Cider & Apple Sauce

I am writing a series of recipes for an exceptional Cumbrian rare breed pig farmer. Here is the classic slow cooked belly of pork with it's best friend of cider and apples. At Borough Market one can pick up some fabulous New Forest Cider and Chegworth Valley Heritage Apples and the legendary Sillfield Farm, of Cumbrian rare breed pork and wild boar fame.

This recipe is a stunner, even if I say so myself. There is something so appealing to our carnivorous natures when presented with a joint of belly pork, the crackling begging a gloves off for the biggest portion, the succulent melting fat and sweet, tender meat.

For the cook, the choices of how to cook it present an embarrassment of riches. The last couple of belly porks I cooked have been rustic and french farm house style with lentils, and with oriental leanings; chili, ginger, 5-spice and honey with sticky rice.

But today I wanted to celebrate British produce, with apples and cider and all things West Country, or Kent one may argue.

Here is the recipe which will serve 4 very well.
  • 1 Pork belly approx 1750 - 2000gm
  • 2 Large onions sliced
  • 250ml (1 glass) English Cider
  • 2 English eating apples
  • 150gm Pancetta cubed
  • Thyme stripped from the stalk
  • 2 Tbsp Crème fraiche
  • Seasoning
Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2

  1. Score the fat with criss cross lines.
  2. Pat the skin dry and sprinke with salt.
  3. Place the sliced onions in a baking tin and place joint on top.
  4. Roast for 3 hours.
  5. Remove the joint allow to rest while you make the sauce, pour off the excess fat.
  6. Fry the pancetta until brown and crispy, whilst frying cut the apples into thick slices with skin on then add to the pancetta to colour, add the caramelised onions to combine. Add the cider and bring to the boil and reduce a little, add the creme fraiche, check seasoning.
  7. Serve with mashed potatoes, or crushed seasonal potatoes with some robust green vegetables.

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