You can probably tell from our posts, we love a good feed at The Digital Bakery.
So here’s an absolute crackler to help you see out level 4 in style. (The photo above was taken from my feast last week - a must share meal!) For vegetarians, pair this refreshing salad with your favourite non-meat protein.
Prep your belly
The key to achieving that crispy, crackly super-succulent pork belly is prep. A few simple steps make all the difference. First, score the top of the pork skin with a sharp knife. Be sure to not cut too deep and into the actual meat. Next, pat the scored skin dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt rubbing it in to the scored cuts.
Put the pork belly back in the fridge (ideally the night before). Keep an eye on it and repeat the process of drying the skin and re-seasoning with salt. This draws out the moisture which enhances the crackle. Take the belly out of the fridge about 90 minutes before putting it in the oven to get closer to room temp. Again, pat dry, season, and this time also brush A LITTLE olive oil over the skin.
Cook the pork
Now turn your oven on as high as it can go. That’s right as high as it can go! Once it’s cranking hot, place the meat into the oven in a dish that will allow you to add some milk later. Depending the size of the pork belly, cook on highest heat for the first 25 – 30 minutes then turn it right down to about 150 – 160 degrees. At this point add the milk to the dish submerging the flesh but not the top (crackle). The milk keeps the meat nice and tender.
Let the pork do its thing for about 40 – 50 minutes. Once cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and rest for 10 -15 mins lightly covered in foil to let the juices redistribute through the meat. If you want to up the crackle factor, give it a quick blast under the grill to finish. A word of warning though, keep an eye on it or you risk coming back to burnt cracking… trust me.
Make the sauce
While the belly is resting, toss your brown onions into a mid-heat pan with some olive oil and some sugar to caramelise. Reduce the heat to low and add the dry apple cider. Simmer for 5 minutes until liquid is reduced by about half. Add cream and mustard and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until it’s just how you like it.
Curate the salad
My tip here is to prepare this earlier, except for cutting the pear, avocado and pouring over the dressing. That way you can focus on your hero Pork Belly.
So grab a pan, bring to a medium heat and add the walnuts. Stir them frequently for about 5 mins or again to your liking and set aside to cool. In a serving salad bowl combine the spinach, rocket, feta, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Add the pear, avocado and dressing just prior to serving the meal.
Finally, as always recommended, pair with the best red wine you’ve got left served at room temp and ENJOY this trio of tastiness!
Just like recruitment, careful prep and a well-planned process always gets the results.
Pork belly (deboned to keep life simple)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil / as little as possible but enough to coat the skin lightly
½ cup of cream
1 tsp of sugar
A small brown onion finely chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ cup dry apple cider
Salt & pepper
1 pear thinly sliced
2 cups of rocket
1 cup of good old spinach leaves (Personally I think they keep you mint)
½ cup of walnuts
1/3 cup of feta
1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
½ cup of lemon juice and grate some lemon zest
¼ salt and some pepper
¼ olive oil