Pork Belly with the Ultimate Crackling.

Preheat oven to hot.
Make a mirepoix (it’s just a fancy French word for onions, celery and carrots) by chopping all to the same size and frying slowly in lots of butter and a little bit of oil. They shouldn’t colour. Season and put this in the bottom of a tray large enough to fit your pork. The belly will shrink by half by the time it’s cooked and then pressed.
Take a blowtorch, if you have one, and sear off any remaining hairs on the skin. Over-season all sides of the meat and place, skin side up, on the softened veg.

Next take a few bottles of reasonable white wine (Chardonnay gives good character) and pour in until it reaches half way up the belly – it is very important that it doesn’t reach the skin. Now seal the tin with tin foil. If you think the foil might touch the skin make sure there is greaseproof paper in between it. Make sure it is tight and that no air can escape.

Put it in the hot oven for about half an hour… turn it down to low… leave at low for about 6 or seven hours. It’s worth it.

Now turn the oven off and leave it in there to cool completely. Take off the foil and check there is still sauce – if not then you’re buggered. Unlucky. Start again.

Prick the side of the meat with a knife – it should slide in easily. Get excited – it’s gonna be great.
Remove the skin, carefully. It should peel off easily. Wrap the meat in lots and lots of clingfilm very tightly, then place in the fridge with a heave weight on top (a big wooden chopping board works well for me).

Turn the oven to medium. Remove any fat from under the skin and then cut into long strips and season well with salt. Put on a tray and in the oven. You will hear it popping (or crackling) This should take about 15 minutes. It’s gonna taste great. Leave this in a cool dry place forever.

When ready to eat (this can be up to three days later) unwrap the pork and portion. Sear in a lightly oiled pan over a high heat on all sides and then finish warming through in a medium oven.

Turn off the oven. Obviously.
Serve with wholegrain mash, apple sauce and of course… that crackling.


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