Pork Belly is such a common ingredient in Italian cuisine, but this recipe is not Italian at all.
After a long trip around the world as volunteers, we decided to come back home and became hosts, using our favorite platform, called Workaway. But again, this post is not about this topic. That’s another story, we’ll talk about soon.
This space is all dedicated to one of the most delicious dishes we have ever tried: Pork belly, in the New Zealand way. We like to call it “The perfect celebration Meal”.
You may also like: What We Learned From Our Workaway Experiences
The following recipe and photos are a gift from our last volunteers Emma and Kalle. They cooked for us this tasty dish.
PORK BELLY THE PERFECT CELEBRATION MEAL
STEP ONE: SEASONING
Score the skin side of the pork with a sharp knife. Using a mortar and pestle, bash together bay leaves, fennel seeds, and peppercorns. Mix this with enough rock salt to cover the top of the pork. Rub this salt into all the nooks and crannies of the scores pork.
Cover with glad wrap and leave overnight in the fridge or a cold place.
Pro Tip: 2.5kg of Pork Belly serves 9 people
STEP TWO: COOKING
The following day, once the pork has dried overnight in the salt rub, brush away the excess salt from the top. Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Around 240°C will do the trick! Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crackling is golden and super crunchy. Remove the pork from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the vegetables. We like to make hassle back potatoes. Washed and cut the potatoes in half with the skin on and sliced partially through the top like a fan. Move the pork onto an oven rack and use the tray for the vegetables.
Lay the potatoes on the oven tray with some space between where you can hide pieces of roughly chopped onion, garlic, and some sprigs of rosemary. Season this with olive oil, salt, pepper and any other herbs you like.
Place the vegetables in the lower part of the oven to catch the tasty juices from the pork on the rack above. Cook the pork for a further 2 to 4 hours. After 2 hours, the meat will be soft and easy to carve. After 4 hours, the meat will be soft enough to ‘pull’.
The potatoes will be ready around the same time.
STEP THREE: THE GRAVY
To make the gravy, remove the vegetables from the tray and use all the yummy bits left at the bottom of the tray. Add some water and apple cider, as well as some flour for thickening (a few teaspoons ) and any herbs and spices you like! For browning and flavoring the gravy, add a stock cube.
Pro tip: Vegemite is perfect to replace the stock cube!
STEP FOUR: SIDE DISHES
The perfect accompaniment for roast pork is apple sauce! You can buy this tinned (Apple baby food!) or you can make your own by chopping apples into cubes and boiling in water, with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon, till soft. Once cooled, mash it up and chill.
Serve this with delicious fresh fennel and apple salad. Using a mandolin, slice equal amounts of green apple and fennel. Dress this with a combination of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, and salt.
STEP FIVE: YUMMY
When it’s time to dish up, arrange the veg on a serving platter with the pork and strain the gravy into a jug. Carve or pull the pork and plate it up with a little bit of everything.
Extra info: Interested in volunteering at our farm in Tuscany? Check out our Profile on Workaway!
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