Breaded belly of pork fingers with creamy cabbage and red wine jus
Chef Brian Turned cooked this recipe for Michael Buerk on the BBC2 series; My Life on Plate. It looked interesting so I thought I would make my own version.
It was an astounding success and will become one of my favourite recipes.
Basically the pork belly is slow roasted in vegetables and half a bottle of red wine. Then the pork belly is pressed under weights, cut into strips, breaded and pan fried. The whole process is quite a palava, though definitely worth the trouble. Because of this I decided to buy 2 pork bellies and slow cook them together. At about £5.00 each it seems to make financial sense as well as time saving. The spare pork belly has been vacuum packed and will be used to make this recipe again in the very near future.
As far as the vegetables are concerned, they are to flavour the meat and to enrich the stock, use whatever you have handy, there is no fixed rule for what to use. They will be discarded after cooking (and fed to our chickens in this case) I often freeze unused fresh vegetables; this is an idea recipe in which to use them up.
to slow cook the pork belly
- use whatever similar vegetables you have to hand
- 2 kg boneless pork bellies, skin removed
- 1 leek, chopped into rings
- 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and smashed under a knife
- 2 sticks of celery, with leaves if possible, chopped into moons
- 2 carrots, split down the middle
- 1 parsnip, guess, split down the middle
- Half a turnip, cut into chunks
- A handful of tomatoes, halved
- A bunch of fresh herbs, thyme and sage are good with this
- 300 ml red wine
- 400 ml of chicken stock
- Splash of light soy sauce
- Pinch of chilli powder
- A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the breaded pork fingers
- Half a cup of plain flour
- Half a teaspoon of Tex-Mex seasoning [or whatever you fancy to give them a little lift]
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
- Rapeseed oil for shallow frying
for the creamy cabbage
- Preheat the oven to 160° C (32° F - gas 3), [fan oven 140° C & reduce cooking time by 10 mins per hour]
- Sautee the leeks (or onions), celery and garlic in a little olive oil for a few minutes
- Add the tomatoes and red wine and heat for 3 or 4 minutes
- Place the chopped vegetables in the base of a roasting tray, large enough to accommodate both pork bellies
- Arrange the fresh herbs over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Sit the pork bellies, on top of the vegetables, fatty side to the top
- Pour the wine mixture over the pork bellies
- Pour the stock around the side of the pork
- Cover with just enough tin foil to stop the pork from drying out. Don't completely cover as you want the stock to reduce while the pork cooks
- Slow cook in the middle of the oven for about 3 hours
- Remove the pork and allow to cool
- Drain the stock for later and discard the vegetables
- Press the pork under a heavy weight for a few hours at least. I used a granite pizza stone. Hardly any liquid comes from the pork but the meat is compressed a little more
cooking the breaded pork fingers
- Cut each pork belly into four square 'fingers'
- Beat the 2 eggs into a bowl and season the plain flour with Tex-Mex seasoning or just salt and pepper and add to another bowl
- Add the Panko breadcrumbs to a final bowl
- Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan, meanwhile bread the pork fingers
- Press a pork finger into the seasoned flour so it is completely covered
- Dredge the finger through the egg wash and then press each side into the breadcrumbs - don't forget the ends. repeat for all the fingers
- Shallow fry the breaded pork in rapeseed oil. Cook each side until it is golden brown, then turn over onto an uncooked edge
red wine jus
- Scrape and discard any fat from the cooled stock and press through a sieve
- Heat the stock in a saucepan and reduce by about half.
creamy savoy cabbage
- Separate the leaves, remove and discard the stems from the middle of each leaf, place the leaves together and chop into strips
- Drop into boiling salted water and allow to return to the boil, then drain
- Plunge into a bowl of cold water to retain the colour. Cold water does the job just as well as iced water to my mind
- Heat the single cream and a knob of butter in a pan and season. Add the cabbage and gently heat until warmed through. I used half of the cream in the cabbage and half in the mashed potatoes.
Serve with creamy mashed potatoes
- Chef Brian Turned cooked a recipe similar to this for Michael Buerk on the BBC2 series; My Life on Plate.
The next day we used the remaining cabbage, potatoes, onions and a small cooking apple to make bubble and squeak as a replacement for the mashed potatoes. Grilled tomaoes finished this dish off nicely.