Slow-roasted pork belly with laven­der nec­tarines

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Serves 6 Prepa­ra­tion time 15 min­utes Bak­ing time 3-4 hours

YOU NEED

• 1 deboned pork belly of 1,5kg • coarse sea salt • 2 ta­ble­spoons (30ml) olive oil • 7 gar­lic cloves, crushed • ½ cup (125ml) fresh pars­ley • ½ cup (125ml) fresh fen­nel leaves • 12 sage leaves • 1 ta­ble­spoon (15ml) rose­mary leaves • 1 ta­ble­spoon (15ml) thyme leaves • 1 ta­ble­spoon (15ml) fen­nel seeds • ½ tea­spoon (2,5ml) chilli flakes • 1 large slice of cia­batta

FOR THE NEC­TARINES • 3 nec­tarines, halved • 6 ta­ble­spoons (90ml) brown sugar • 1 cup (250ml) dessert wine (such

as mus­cat, sherry or port) • 6 laven­der sprigs

THIS IS HOW

Pre­heat the oven to 160ºC. Work­ing on a wooden chop­ping board, use a small sharp knife to score the pork skin – take care not to slice through the fat into the meat. Rub the skin with coarse sea salt, then turn over the meat so that the skin side rests on the board.

Pulse the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents finely in a food pro­ces­sor. Scoop the mix­ture onto the meat and rub it in – if there is too much, keep it aside to serve later with the cooked pork.

Now roll up the meat length­wise to form a sturdy roll. Tie it se­curely at 2cm in­ter­vals with pieces of string. Place the pork belly, seam side down, in an oven dish and roast it for 3 hours. Re­move the pork from the oven and re­duce the tem­per­a­ture to 210ºC.

Ar­range the nec­tarine halves around the pork, cut sides up­wards. Sprin­kle the sugar over the fruit and re­turn the dish to the oven to roast un­til the pork skin is golden brown and crisp.

Re­move the dish from the oven and pour the dessert wine around – not on top of – the nec­tarines and pork, and scat­ter the laven­der sprigs over. The heat from the dish should cause the alcohol to evap­o­rate im­me­di­ately, leav­ing be­hind a sweet sauce. Slice and serve the meat. >

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