SLOW AND STEADY
CHOOSE AND COOK PORK WITH CARE AND YOU’LL REAP THE REWARDS WITH SUCCULENT, CROWD-PLEASING DISHES
The pig is a noble animal, highly intelligent and in some cases, the family pet. The best pork is free-range or organic meat from pigs that have both good feeding and living conditions. In Queensland, we have beautiful pork and if you are an aficionado like me, you will have your favourite haunt for buying fresh and cured products.
SLOW-COOKED PORK BELLY WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS, POTATO AND SMOKED HAM HOCK
2 pieces uncooked pork belly, 600g each (see tip) Sea salt and pepper 12 brussels sprouts, trimmed and scored Vegetable oil 12 cloves garlic, peeled 9 desiree potatoes, quartered 12 eshallots, peeled, halved 3 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf 180g ham hock meat (reserved from parsnip soup recipe, opposite) Skin of 3 cumquats, sliced thinly 1tbs chopped parsley 1tbs chopped chives Extra virgin olive oil 12-year-old balsamic vinegar
If you are slow-cooking the pork bellies yourself, you will need a sous vide machine. Salt the pork and leave wrapped in the fridge overnight. Remove and rinse off salt. Place bellies in vacuum-pack bags and seal on a vacuum-seal machine. Immerse bags in a water bath heated to 65C. Drop to 62C and cook for 12 hours. Preheat oven to 180C. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the sprouts for 3-4 mins. Plunge into ice water for about 5 mins, then remove and cut in half. In a wok or large saute pan, add 2tbs vegetable oil before adding garlic, potato, sprouts, eshallots, thyme, bay leaf and hock meat and cook until potatoes have good colour. Preheat a heavy-based fry pan to medium. Add 1tbs vegetable oil and place the slow-cooked pork bellies in, skin side down, for 10-12 mins. Transfer to a roasting tray and cook in oven for 10 mins. Remove. Place sprouts mixture into a bowl with cumquat peel, parsley and chives. Divide between 6 plates. Cut bellies into 6 pieces and arrange with sprouts. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.