Caucasian Curry

Caucasian Curry

Jamie Oliver's Crispy Skin Pork Belly

there's been so much interest in pork belly in the last year you'd have to be living in a cave not to have come across it in some way or another. maybe it came about with all the talk of "nose-to-tail" or maybe people just aren't so afraid of FAT anymore. what ever it is i'm glad i was introduced to this delicious part of the pig. i never thought in a million years i would be one of those that caught the bug for this big slab of moist unctuous pork and FAT...and i mean FAT. i always considered myself more of the fish and steamed veggie type...HA HA HA...not anymore. if you can wrap it in bacon i'm all for it. pork belly is just one big slab of bacon so naturally i am a big fan.<

if you're at all curious, this is a great recipe to start with. it's so easy, so delicious and a great way to introduce pork belly to those whose are a bit sceptical. it makes a great presentation right out of the oven, but it also keeps in the fridge ready to slice for single portions and rewarm for a quick belly fix (it slices much easier after it has been refrigerated for a bit.)

.JAMIE OLIVER'S PORK BELLY ROASToriginal recipe found here
i have copied it for you below with a few of my notes to follow

• 1.5kg pork belly
sea salt (i used Kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 red onions, halved

(all else is only necessary if making the gravy
• 2 carrots, peeled and halved length ways
• 2 sticks of celery, chopped in half
• 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
• a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
• 600ml water or stock
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2.5 hours

Preheat your oven to full whack, it needs to be at least 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side upwards. Get yourself a small sharp knife
and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that
you cut into the meat. Rub salt right into all the scores you’ve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you have to. Brush any excess salt off the surface of the skin and turn it over. Season the underside of the meat with a little more salt and a little black pepper. Place your pork, skin side-up, in a roasting tray big enough to hold the pork and the vegetables, and place in the hot oven.

Roast for about half an hour until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see
it turning into crackling. Turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and roast for another hour.
Take out of the oven and baste with the fat in the bottom of the tray. Carefully lift the pork up and transfer to a chopping board. Add all the veg, garlic and thyme to the tray and stir them into the fat. Place the pork on top of everything and pop the tray back in the oven. Roast for another hour. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender. Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover with tin foil and leave to rest while
you make your gravy.
Spoon away any fat in the tray, then add the water or stock and place the tray on the hob.
Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to
scrape up all those lovely sticky tasty bits on the bottom of the tray. When you’ve got a nice, dark gravy, pour it through a sieve into a bowl or gravy boat, using your spoon to really push all the goodness of the veg through the sieve. Add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it. Serve the pork with the crackling, gravy, some creamy mashed potato, nice fresh greens and a dollop of English mustard.

MY NOTES...i bought my pork belly (skin on) at a great Asian market, 99 Ranch, for about $2.99 lb. the last few i have bought were about 3- 3 1/2 lbs.

slicing the skin requires a very sharp knife. ceramic works really well...or i think you could ask your butcher to make the slices for you (read that in another post)

watch that too much salt doesn't get stuck in the slices of the skin. my first one was a bit too salty.

get that oven up to "full whack". i put mine at 450 degrees in a convection and i've tried 470 with top and bottom elements. both worked fine. just keep an eye on it and remember it still has 2 full hours of cooking to go after the 1/2 hour "full whack" stage.

i skipped all the vegetables except the onion. i used 2 large white onions sliced thick and placed them under the slab after the first hour. i think once i just put them under for the full 2 hours and i didn't have to worry about lifting up the hot belly roast in the middle of cooking. anyway you do it is fine. the star of the show is the pork belly and it will be fabulous either way.

below is what mine looked like 2 1/2 LONG hours later. i didn't do the whole gravy thing. i was just interested in the belly. since i found this recipe, i've cooked it 4 times. i think you'll find it particularly easy and oh so tasty. give it a go...Jamie is SPOT-ON with this one.

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