Szechuan pepper rubbed, slow roasted pork belly
I had friends coming over for dinner and I wanted to make something special. I know I have mentioned the pork belly before but never with the full recipe. I also did crackling, very naughty but so satisfying!
I wanted to get a head start and got up early to go to the butcher. I was a little nervous as I don’t know the butcher very well and I wanted his help. I so miss Robson’s butcher on days like this! We arrived to the shop early and there were no people there yet, my first lucky break! I placed my order and as suspected I got a very skeptical look and not little muttering, I could clearly make out “in 27 years I have never had a request like this”, still it was friendly bemusement. After explaining what and why I wanted it like that and how I was going to cook it my butcher, Keith now on first name basis and myself discussed the best flavors for sausage, their unique white Stilton with mango and ginger. I got everything and Keith threw in 2 complimentary beef sausages (they make all sausages on site), flavored with horseradish for me to try! I have to admit I did cook the sausages straight away when I got home and they were absolutely delicious.
What I had done was to ask the butcher was to cut off the skin from the meat with as much fat as possible still on the skin. In this case there were very little fat so he cut off the thin top layer of meat as well and then sliced it. If you can get the butcher to do this I find it a lot easier than doing it yourself.
Szechuan pepper rubbed pork belly with crackling
preparation time 10 minutes
cooking time 3 hours
oven 100C or 210F for 2.5 hour and then 230C or 450F for up to 30 mins
- 2.2 kg or 77 oz of bone in pork belly, skin sliced on the side.
- Szechuan peppercorns, 4 tbsp
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 star anise
For the crackling
- melted butter
- seasalt flakes
Place the spices in a dry frying pan and toast them until you hear the Szechuan peppercorns start to pop.
I then placed the spices in my spice grinder and it smellt lovely.
Melt the butter and brush the sliced pork skin. Scatter sea salt over and place in a large ovenproof dish. Place the belly pork in another ovenproof dish. I placed both on non stick baking paper. Place the trays in the oven for 2.5 hours and just leave it there. After 2.5 hours turn the heat up, leave in for an additional 10-15 minutes. Take the meat out to let it rest and leave the crackling in until it is cooked, Watch it so that it doesn’t burn.
Whilst the pork belly was cooking I started on the side dishes, rosemary roast baby potatoes, roast sprouting broccoli, a savory plum jam and a beetroot salad.
Rosemary roasted baby potatoes
preparation time 5 minutes
cooking time 40-45 minutes
oven 175C or 350F
- 3-4 potatoes/pp
- oil or melted butter
Wash the potatoes and pat them dry. Place salt in a wide ovenproof dish and place the potatoes on top. Brush them with oil or melted butter and place fresh rosemary on top or around.
Place the sprouting broccoli on a shallow tray. These will roast with the potatoes but only need about 25 minutes. Just before placing them in the oven drizzle with some olive oil, some pecan nuts and a pinch of sea salt.
I love this easy to make plum jam with the pork and the spices, it it sweet and savory at the same time.
Savory plum jam
preparation time 10 minutes
cooking time 25-35 minutes
- 8 plums
- 3 star anise
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 1 dl or 1/2 cup sugar, I used demerara sugar
- 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup water
Cut the plums in half, remove the stone and cut them up.
Place them in a pan with the remaining ingredients and let simmer until the juices start to thicken. Remove the star anise and the cinnamon quills and let cool before serving. Place some cling film on top to avoid a skin forming.
I bought some fresh beetroots that I boiled whole, peeled and then sliced them and served with fennel and orange.
I let the pork belly rest for about 20 minutes, the spice rub looked very good.
The potatoes and the broccoli were done at the same time.
I let the crackling keep cooking whilst the meat was resting until the sound was hollow when I tapped it. This crackling didn’t look as nice due to the meat on it but it tasted lovely. Crackling is my very guilty pleasure!
Slow cooking meat is a great way to cook meat when you are having guests, the house smells of the spices and roasting meat making it more welcoming, I love it. We ate almost all of the food I washed it down with plenty of my favorite prosecco and it was a great evening.
I also love to share so I am taking this to Fiesta Friday, a true blog fest. Hosted by the lovely Angie and co hosted by Saucy Gander and Flours n Dainty Buns, head over to have a look at tempting images and inspirational recipes. Happy fiesta!