Crispy fennel pork belly with herb salsa
- November 2016
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 5 hours, plus resting
Tender pork with crispy crackling, paired with fennel flavours and herb salsa – what more would you want to serve at a dinner party?
- 51.5g (18.5g saturated)
- 11.8g (10.1g sugars)
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- ½ tbsp dried sage
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2.5 kg British free-range pork belly, bone-in, skin scored (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- 2 onions, thickly sliced
- 2 bramley apples, peeled and thickly sliced
- 4 carrots, halved lengthways
- Olive oil for roasting
- 500ml chicken stock
- 300ml dry white wine, plus a splash to serve
For the salsa
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 large bunches soft fresh herbs (such as mint, chives, coriander, parsley or basil), leaves picked and roughly chopped
- Heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2. Mix the fennel, sage and salt in a small bowl, then rub the flavourings into the scored lines in the skin of the pork belly.
- Put the onions, apple slices and carrots in the centre of a roasting tin that fits the pork belly comfortably but fairly snugly. Sit the pork on top of the veg, then drizzle with a good glug of oil and add a few turns of ground black pepper.
- Pour the stock and wine into the tin around the pork, then roast in the oven for 4 hours 30 minutes or until the meat is very tender and can be pushed apart with a fork. Turn over the vegetables if they’re browning too much.
- Turn up the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/gas 9 and cook the pork for a further 25-30 minutes until the crackling has bubbled and is golden and crisp (keep an eye on it). Remove from the oven, transfer the pork to a cutting board and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables from the liquid, put in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and keep warm in the switched-off oven. Pour the cooking juices into a saucepan, skim off the fat, then keep warm over a gentle heat, adding a splash more wine just before serving.
- Meanwhile prepare the salsa. Put the onion in a bowl with the vinegar, lemon zest and juice and sugar, then season with salt. Leave for 10 minutes until lightly pickled, then drain and mix with the fresh herbs just before serving. Carve the pork into squares or thick slices (use kitchen scissors to cut through the crackling if it’s difficult), then plate up with some of the reserved veg and a drizzle of the cooking juices. Serve with the salsa on the side. Mash or roast potatoes would be great if you’re feeding a crowd.
Roast the pork for 3-4 hours the day before, cool and chill uncovered overnight. Cook it for 1 hour in the oven before cooking the crackling (as in step 4). If you’re doing this, drain the veg and keep the liquid and veg separate overnight, before putting them all back into the roasting tin to re-cook.
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