Crash-course: One cracker(ling) of a pork belly recipe

If there’s one roast I can almost never say no to, it has to be pork belly.

While I know it can either be too rich, too fatty or too dry, this recipe (which I got from one of Jamie Oliver’s old cookbooks) gets an entire bottle of wine which brings a great acidity to the dish and really renders down the fat. It’s also cooked for a little over three hours and gets plenty of liquid to make sure the meat stays tender and absolutely melt in your mouth.

 

You’ll need the following (serves 6-8, or one hungry Kat Family):

2kg pork belly – if you can, ask your local butcher to score it for you to save a mammoth amount of effort on your part

2 tbs fennel seeds

4 fennel bulbs – quartered and without their herby tops

A small bunch of fresh thyme

5 cloves of  garlic or alternatively 2 tbs crushed garlic

A generous splash of olive oil

1 bottle of white wine – preferably not the cheapest one in the supermarket

Salt and pepper to season

 

Start by cranking your oven up to its hottest temperature and in a roasting tray adding the fennel, garlic, thyme, the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Having either scored, or having had your pork belly scored for you, place the meat on top and pop it into the oven for about 10-15 minutes.

After that, turn your oven down to approximately 170 degrees Celsius and roast the meat for a further hour. When your hour is up, drain any excess fat from the pan and add your white wine (save a little in case the meat starts to cook dry in the next hour) and put your roast back into the oven to roast for another hour.

After that, remove the fennel and put your roast back into the oven for one last hour until the skin is crispy, golden and crackling.

I recommend serving it with some steamed greens, pan-fried cabbage, homemade potato rostis or some sweet potato and green pea mash.

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