Crispy pork belly with sweet and sour apple juice.

Pork Belly has to be one of my favourite cuts of meat. This recipe involves cooking the pork in apple juice before crisping it up in the pan. Originally I started using cider as the cooking liquor, but I thought I’d try it with apple juice one day and as a result concocted a bit of sweet and sour style sauce. The end result is a crispy, yet melt-in-your-mouth piece of pork belly with a sweet yet sour sauce that compliments the pork nicely.

When I prepare this dish I normally cook the pork in the apple juice the day before I want to use it as it’s important to cool the belly prior to cutting. The belly only needs crisping and heating up just before serving. I like to serve the pork belly with roast potatoes, baby carrots and a reduction of the apple juice. I suppose it’s a British routed Asian inspired roast.

Ingredients

Pork Belly, 1ltr Apple Juice, 50 ml cider vinegar, 1tsp salt, 1tsp Szechuan pepper corns, 1 large onion, 1 large carrot, 1 red chilli, small bulb of garlic, knob of butter and rape seed oil.

The 1st part

  1. Create the boiling liquid in a casserole pot by adding the apple juice, salt, Szechuan pepper, onion, carrot, garlic, half the chilli and garlic.
  2. To get the flavour of the liquor into the belly pierce it a number of times and then place it skin side up in the casserole dish. The belly should almost be fully submerged.
  3. Bring the filled casserole pot to the boil on the hob, once boiling put the lid on and place in a pre-heated oven (160) for 2 hrs.
  4. Take the belly out of the liquor and leave to call for half an hour before placing it in the fridge until cool.
  5. Strain the rest of the liquor and set aside until needed.

The 2nd part

  1. Finely chop the rest of the red chilli and add it and the cider vinegar to the strained apple juice liquor and reduce by just over half. The end sauce as well as tasting sweet and appley should have a slight heat from the chilli and a sour bite from the vinegar.
  2. If you like your sauce a bit thicker you could use some arrow root to slightly thicken or reduce even further (but this would intensify the flavour even more).
  3. Trim the belly to straighten the edges if necessary. Cleanly slice the pork belly along its length into about 4 slices (between 2-3cms in width).
  4. About 8 minutes from the time you want to serve, place a knob of butter and a splash of rape seed oil in a frying pan.
  5. When the pan is nice and hot, place the pork belly into the pan. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes.
  6. Serve when crispy and brown on the outside and serve with the sweet and sour apple sauce.


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