I do love ordering slow cooked pork belly when I eat out, but it’s actually a really easy dish to make at home. Plus you can’t really request a huge bowl full of apple sauce when you eat out (like my husband does when I make this at home). Believe me, the measly portion of apple sauce in the photo above was eaten in one forkful and then replaced by another 5 or 6 splodges 🙂
You may have noticed one of my previous posts for pork rillettes? Well this actually uses the same process to slow cook the meat – right up to the point of shredding the pork.
Last time I made this, I therefore doubled my pork belly ingredients and made the pork rillettes at the same time as making this. It doesn’t require any additional cooking time in the oven by doing this, so long as the meat is laid out flat next to each other.
Slow Cooked Belly Pork with Homemade Apple Sauce and Crushed Lemon Potatoes (Serves 4):
Belly Pork and Gravy:
- 1 portion of pork belly (not rolled and with the rind on) weighing between 500g and 800g
- 1tsp salt
- 300ml white wine
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp dried thyme (or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme)
- 10 black peppercorns
- Water to top up
- 2 tsp vegetable bouillon
- 1 tsp cornflour mixed with cold water
Apple Sauce – this is for a large bowl of apple sauce:
- 5 large cooking apples, peeled and chopped (and sprinkled with the 1 tsp of lemon juice listed below to prevent them turning brown)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 heaped tbsp caster/granulated sugar
Crushed Lemon Potatoes:
- 500g baby new Potatoes
- 1 tbsp. double cream
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 10 sprigs of chives, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Steamed Brocolli and Sweetheart cabbage
- Preheat your oven to 160c. Score the skin of the pork belly and rub 1tsp salt into the skin. Place (skin side up) into an oven proof pan that fits the pork with just a bit of room to spare.
- Pour the wine into the pan around the sides of the pork, being careful not to pour directly onto the pork as this will wash the salt off. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns into the liquid, then top up with water until it comes almost to the top of the pork. Gently bring to the boil, then place a lid on the pan and put the pan in the preheated oven. Leave to cook for 3 hours, checking halfway through the cooking time to top up with water if required (I generally add in about 500ml of boiling water at this point)
- Once cooked, take out of the oven, take off the lid and place a small flat try or upside down flat plate on top of the pork. Put a heavyish weight on top (a few of tins of beans will do). This will help to flatten the meat back down to a consistant thickness throughout, which will ensure you get a uniform shape when cutting it up later. Make sure the tray/plate is flat, as any raised bits will imprint into the pork. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge for a couple of hours (the tins too).
- Whilst the pork is in the fridge you can prepare the apple sauce, which can be reheated later. Place the apples in a large pan and stir in the sugar. Place on a medium heat and put the lid on the pan. Leave to cook for about 5 mins, then check and stir. The apples should be starting to break up a little. Replace the lid and stir and check again every couple of minutes until the apples have broken down into a nice lumpy sauce. Check the flavour, you may want to sprinkle in a little more sugar if they’re too tart. Leave to cool.
- About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, put the potatoes into a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins.
- Whilst the potatoes are boiling, Take the pork belly out of the fridge and cut into four portions. Scrape off any fat that’s formed on top of the pork juices. Add a tbsp of the fat to a frying pan and heat. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt onto the skin of each portion of pork and then put into the pan skin side down straightaway (don’t leave the pork belly to sit with the salt on, as it will draw out moisture and make the skin soggy instead of crispy). Fry on a medium-to-high heat on the skin side for about 5 minutes until golden brown, then turn over and cook for 2 mins on the bottom and then each of the sides until nicely browned. This should take about 13-15 minutes altogether.
- Whilst the pork and potatoes are cooking, steam your broccoli/cabbage for about 8 minutes and make the gravy. Take the pan that has the remaining juices from the pork (it will be jelly), discard the bay leaves and peppercorns and heat the juices. Brake up the garlic cloves with the back of a fork, and sprinkle in the vegetable bouillon with a splash of water. Heat until bubbling and then whisk in the cornflour/water mix to thicken the gravy slightly. Leave on a low heat until you’re ready to serve.
- When the potatoes are cooked, strain the water off. Add in the cream and butter the and roughly crush the potatoes in the pan using the back of a fork. Stir in the lemon zest, chives and a pinch of salt and pepper. Take four plates and place a scoop of the crushed potatoes on each plate, then top with the pork belly. Spoon out some apple sauce (you can reheat this in the pan or in the microwave for a minute if you like it warm), the steamed broccoli and cabbage and then spoon over some gravy and serve.
**Tip** any leftover apple sauce can be cooled, stored in a freezer bag and frozen. To reheat, defrost thoroughly and heat in the microwave until piping hot.