Kitchen Garden Cook
Melanie Johnson cooks gooseberry-stuffed rolled pork belly
1kg–1.5kg piece pork belly Sea salt 50g gooseberries 4 sprigs thyme 1 sprig rosemary
For the relish
1 finely diced shallot 2tbspn olive oil 350g gooseberries 25g brown sugar 30g white-wine vinegar 1tspn sea salt 8 peppercorns
Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚f/gas mark 6. Place the pork belly skin side up on a board and score gently with a knife, taking care not to cut all the way through to the meat. Sprinkle with sea salt, rubbing it into the skin, then turn the pork over and scatter with the gooseberries, herbs and seasoning. Carefully roll it up and tie in three places to secure.
Cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes, before lowering the temperature to 170˚C/325˚f/gas mark 3 and roasting for a further 21∕2 hours. (If the crackling hasn’t crackled enough, you can put it under the grill for five minutes at the end.)
While the meat cooks, prepare the relish. Fry the shallot in olive oil and sweat to soften but not brown—about 10 minutes releases its full sweetness. Add the cleaned, topped and tailed gooseberries, sugar, vinegar, salt and peppercorns, mix together well and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep over the heat for about 20 minutes, until the fruit begins to burst, then set aside.
Once the pork belly is done, allow to rest before serving with the gooseberry relish and a lightly dressed salad for a summer twist on comfort food.