Quote “This is the most incredible thing you’ve ever made…“
Those were the very words uttered by my sweetheart this evening. Ever since I mentioned my last cookery lesson and the variety of things we learnt including this amazing method for Pork Belly he’s been putting his hand up since.
I’ve learnt the secret to a good Snap, Crackle & Pop, that’s crisp crackling, a firm snap and that pop when you bite into it!
I’ve picked up a few tips, both in class and from extracurricular reading from Heston Blumenthal at Home. The most interesting thing is whenever I’ve cooked Pork Belly in the past it’s usually been in a dry oven at a high heat. Actually in my class at school we’ve tried the Pork Belly at a low heat to start, with steam and at the latter stage, turned the heat right up to force that steam out. Hence the puff, the crackle and the pop!
Time: 1&1/2 hrs
1.4 kg approx of pork belly, this is plenty for two and also gives you some yummy fillings for sandwiches later in the week,
Salt (and loads of it)
Olive oil for the pan,
Mix of chopped veg, carrots, onion, celery etc (this is for the pork to rest on)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 birds eye chillies chopped
1.5 Tbsp of ginger chopped
2 Tbsp of Sugar, soy sauce, black vinegar
Freshly boiled water, stock or wine (your choice)
You’ll need 1 frying pan, oven tray, mesh strainer, a pan for the bottom of the oven and a mixing jug.
Glaze: Combine all the ingredients in a pan and simmer over a low heat. Adjust the liquid accordingly until you reach a slick smooth syrupy consistency. Strain and serve the glaze hot beside the pork.
Pork Belly: Preheat your oven to 160 (320F) Place a large pan of steaming water into the bottom of the oven, you’ll need to fill it 1/4 of the way.
Score the skin of the pork at intervals, every centimeter is ideal. Rub some salt into the cracks and take care to get right in. Place the pork belly, flesh side down into a hot pan with olive oil and brown to seal in those juices.
Scatter the oven tray with the mixed vegetables and place the pork with the skin side facing up, tuck the mixed vegetables under the pork to elevate the meat.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1hr. Check the tray mid way and turn to even up the browning if necessary. Also check the steam and if it’s all evaporated pour in a little more boiling water, (now’s a great time to start the glaze too)
After the 1st hour, crank the heat up to 180C (356F) and remove the pan of water. Bake at this high heat for 20 mins and turn the grill on for the last five minutes. It should force any last amount of moisture out of the skin by this stage and hopefully you’ll have a some nice puffy bubbles happening in that crackling…Voilá!