We have much to thank the humble pig for – Bacon, Sausages, Hams. The list is endless. But pork belly? Now that is something for which we should be truly thankful. That delicious, fatty hunk of porkiness is by far my favorite cut of meat.
Just give it enough time and don’t let it get too hot and you will have the most glorious supper. Better still, leftovers will keep you going for countless days and can be used in a multitude of dishes.
Pork and apples are best friends. Here I have paired roast belly with apple purée and some oven-dried tomatoes. A very simple dish which would be great for a lazy Sunday. I also made some quick thyme sauté potatoes to accompany.
Pork Belly, Apple, Tomato
For the Pork: 1-1.5kg Boneless Pork Belly (Skin Removed), 4tbsp Olive Oil, 1 Sliced Lemon, Sea Salt, Black Pepper
For the Apple Purée: 6 Granny Smith Apples (Peeled, Cored and Chopped), 2tbsp Unsalted Butter, 3tbsp Water, 1/2tbsp Sugar, 1/2tsp Sea Salt, Squeeze of Lemon Juice
For the Tomatoes: 15 Cherry Tomatoes Halved, Sea Salt
1) Pre-heat oven to 180C. Season the pork belly generously and wrap in a double layer of foil with the sliced lemon and olive oil. Place in the bottom of the oven and roast for around 3 hours or until ready. To check if its ready, push a table knife through the middle of the belly – if there is no resistance it is ready.
2) Meanwhile, make the apple purée. Place the chopped apples in a pan with the butter, sugar, water, salt and a little squeeze of lemon. Cook covered over a low heat for around 1 hour until the apples have turned to a purée. Cook uncovered for a further 10 minutes to allow some of the water to evaporate (nothing worse than a runny purée!). Pass through a sieve and set to one side.
3) To prepare the tomatoes – place the halved tomatoes (cut side up) on a lightly oiled baking tray and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the top of the oven with the pork and cook for around 20 minutes until slightly dried. Remove from the oven and set aside.
4) Once the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and unwrap. Cut into manageable portions. Fry these portions in a little olive oil if desired to form a crust.
5) Serve the pork with the warmed apple purée and tomatoes.
Great accompanied with sauté potatoes or a pea shoot salad.