Scratch an itch with a pork belly
Most vegetarians I speak to tell me that the one thing that may convert them back to being meat eaters would be the humble bacon sandwich.
There is just something about the meat that comes from a pig that makes people go wild.
Unlike most other meats, it crisps up so well when grilled or fried and has a natural saltiness that helps cure hangovers and food cravings in equal measures.
Another part of this majestic beast that gets less publicity than bacon is the pork belly.
If pork belly made up one of your five a day then I would consider revising your life expectancy.
Before it goes in to the oven for cooking, it has a layer of fat about an inch thick ( what the heck are pigs eating?) which renders down to about half that thickness during cooking, glazing the succulent pork meat below it and leaving you with an unbelievably crunchy crackling.
The meat itself does need a bit of help.
My tip is to sit the pork belly in a baking tray with some carefully chosen vegetables and chicken stock covering the meat but leaving the skin exposed to the dry heat of the oven to crisp up.
Step 1 – preparing the belly
Sit the belly, flesh side down, on a chopping board and score the skin in diagonal lines to a depth of about two centimetres. Do not pierce the actual meat. You should create a series of diamond shapes across the whole of the skin.
Rub a generous amount of rock salt in to all the grooves and grind some pepper on top.
Step 2 – roasting the belly
Place the belly in an oven dish and add enough chicken stock to cover the meat only.
It is absolutely crucial that this stock does not cover any of the skin or fat which you have already scored.
Place some chopped carrots, onions, garlic and apple in with the stock and put in the oven at 180 for about three hours.
Remove the belly and allow to rest for 15 minutes or so.
Step 3 – simple sauce
Remove the vegetables from the oven dish and strain all the cooking juices through a colander in to a pot.
Add a cup of white wine and reduce the liquid down by half to intensify the flavour.
Add a splash of single cream and some finely chopped parsley.
Serve the pork with the vegetables which have been set aside and some rice or potatoes.
You can find out more at David’s website www.turtledovecatering. com
Succulent or potatoes
tasty pork belly with roasted vegetables served up with rice