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Pork Belly Roast

by Claire Winlow (follow)
Dinner (2274)      Pork (120)      Roast (54)      Crackling (4)     
Before cooking a pork belly roast for the first time, I had only ordered it in restaurants as a special treat. Crispy crackling and succulent pork seemed an impossible thing to achieve myself. It's also normally one of the more expensive items on the menu so perhaps not worth the risk of making at home and messing up.

pork belly, roast, crackling, rosemary, Sunday lunch
Great crackling and succulent meat

This New Year's Eve, my husband and I decided we would make a special dinner and this was the time to try a pork belly roast. It's actually very easy to make and a suitable wow factor for a dinner party. Just as appealing is the price as it's actually a very cost effective piece of meat to purchase. A piece of meat that would serve 6 comfortably, cost me £8.71, not bad for something that tastes so great.

The secret with any great roast is the quality of the meat more than the actual cooking. My local butcher (Bartlett's Butcher in Kidlington) has good quality and top service. I've made this a few times now and they always offer to score the fat for me so don't be afraid to ask your butcher to help too.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Makes: 6 servings

1.7kg belly of pork
1 large onions
2 sprigs rosemary
2 Tablespoons sea salt
10-15 peppercorns
Half bottle of white wine

You can ammend the exact amounts depending on the size of the pork belly you buy.

Score the fat with several lines using a stanley knife, making sure you go all the way through the fat but don't cut in the meat. If you have a friendly butcher, they can help with this step.

pork belly, roast, crackling, rosemary, Sunday lunch
Cutting the fat will ensure it gets lovely and crispy to make the best crackling

Roughly cut the rosemary and then pound in a pestle and mortar with the salt and peppercorns to make a dry rub
Rub the rosemary mix over the fat and well in the slits you have created.

pork belly, roast, crackling, rosemary, Sunday lunch

Heat your oven up to the highest it will go
Put the pork belly on a rack in a roasting tray and place in the hot oven for 30mins
Turn oven down to 160 degrees C for continue to roast the meat for 1 hour
Baste the meat and return to the oven for 20 minutes
Baste the meat and return to the oven for a further 20mins.
Remove the rack and place roughly chopped onion at the bottom of the roating tray and then place the pork belly back on top.
Baste well again
Pour in half a bottle of white wine making sure that the pork fat remains above the level of the wine.
Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Put the oven back up to the highest temp for 20-30mins until skin is really crispy.
Remove the pork belly from the oven and allow to rest for 15 -20 minutes.

pork belly, roast, crackling, rosemary, Sunday lunch

Keep and eye on the pork in the last 20 minutes to make sure nothing is burning including the onions. You want your crackling crisp but not black.

Creamy cheese potatoes are a great if somewhat indulgent accompaniment on the side and very simple to make.

pork belly, roast, crackling, rosemary, Sunday lunch
Roast parsnips and cornichons also go well with this dish

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