Prune and apple stuffed pork belly with roast fennel and apples
- October 2018
- Serves 8 with leftovers
- Hands-on time 35-40 min, oven time 2 hours 50 min, plus chilling/drying
This recipe for pork belly was created by the three 2017 Masterchef finalists Lorna, Alison and Giovanna, also known as Three Girls Cook. The sweet and tart flavours of prunes and apples cuts nicely through the richness of the pork. And you only need to take one look at that crackling to know it’s going to be good…
- 56.5g (19.8g saturated)
- 21.3g (8.3g sugars)
- 3kg British free-range boneless pork belly (see tips)
- 2-3 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 350ml dry cider
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, whole but bashed with the flat of a knife
- 2 large fennel bulbs, core removed and cut into wedges
- 2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into wedges
For the prune and apple stuffing
- Olive oil for frying
- 200g bacon lardons or diced pancetta
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 125g prunes, roughly chopped
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm chunks
- 160g fresh white breadcrumbs
You’ll also need…
- Kitchen string
- At least 8 hours before cooking (ideally the night before), dry the pork rind with kitchen paper. Using a sharp knife, score the rind and fat diagonally into a diamond pattern, stopping before the meat layer (or see tips) . Sprinkle with the sea salt and return, uncovered, to the fridge (keep away from any raw food). This will dry out the skin to give you superb crackling. Remove from the fridge an hour or so before cooking and wipe off any excess salt.
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. For the stuffing, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the lardons/pancetta for 5-10 minutes until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add the butter to the same pan and melt until foaming. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes until starting to soften. Add the sage, prunes and apple, then cook for a further 5 minutes until the apple has softened. Remove from the heat and add the lardons/pancetta along with the breadcrumbs. Season well, then set aside.
- Put 6 lengths of string (about twice the width of the pork) at 5cm intervals on a chopping board, then lay the pork, skin-side down, on top. Spoon the prune and apple stuffing down one edge of the meat, then carefully roll up the pork from the long edge to encase the stuffing. Tightly tie the strings at intervals to enclose (see delicious. Kitchen for a step-by-step). Transfer the rolled, stuffed and tied joint, seam-side down, to a roasting tin.
- Put the pork in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the cider with the mustard in a bowl, then add the whole bay leaves and sage leaves along with the bashed garlic cloves. Add to the roasting tin (this will form the gravy), pouring around the pork, not over the skin. Turn the oven down to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and roast for 2 hours.
- For the final 30 minutes of the roasting time, add the fennel and apple wedges to the pork tin.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Transfer the fennel to a baking dish or separate roasting tin (leave the apples with the pork). Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and roast the fennel for 20 minutes more or until cooked and starting to caramelise.
- Slice the pork and serve with the fennel and apples on the side. Squeeze the garlic into the juices from the pork tin and stir in (discard the skins and the bay/sage leaves), then serve in a jug to spoon over.
Ask your butcher for a wide piece of pork belly as it’s easier to roll – and ask them to score the skin for you, too.
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