Extremely easy to cook and relatively cheap to buy pork belly is a great cut to slow roast and serve at a family get together. I use free range Blythburg pork from Drings Butchers, as it has a good balance of meat to fat and the flavour is wonderful. Ask your butcher to score the skin for you; this allows the fat to run out and the skin to crisp up. Don’t forget to rub the pork with a generous handful of salt about half an hour before cooking; it will greatly improve the flavour of the meat and the texture of the crackling.
To make braised red cabbage, slice it finely and put it into a cast iron pot with 2 cups of red wine vinegar and 2 cups of brown sugar. Add one chopped bramley apple and a star anise, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook in the oven, at 150C, for about an hour. It’s important to taste before serving; the flavour should be deep and mellow with a slight apple sharpness to compliment the rich pork. Adjust accordingly with either a drop more vinegar or pinch of sugar. A sprinkling of toasted cumin seeds just before you serve adds a fragrant spicy dimension to the dish.
Finally, a truly satisfying jacket potato must be piping hot, crispy, smoky and fluffy – qualities a microwave just can’t produce – with a generous knob of salty butter pushed into the centre.
Roasted Pork Belly with Red Cabbage & Apple, Jacket Potato, Sour Cream – serves 6
2kg Pork Belly
6 large baking potatoes
Braised red cabbage – as above
- Pre-heat the oven to 150C.
- Put the pork belly on a metal rack over a roasting tray.
- Pour a little water into the tray (this stops the base from drying out and becoming tough) & cook in the oven for 2 hours, adding the pot of red cabbage & the baking potatoes after the first hour.
- After 2 hours check the pork and if necessary turn the oven up to 200C to crisp the skin.
- Take out the pork belly & leave to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes. Take out the red cabbage & keep warm.
- Keep your eye on the potatoes and take out when the skin is crunchy and a skewer pushed into the centre meets no resistance.
- Serve with a pot of sour cream and unsalted butter.