Slow roast herby pork belly
- Big handful of sage, stems discarded
- Big handful of rosemary, stems discarded
- 4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime or lemon
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 500 g joint of pork belly
- Preheat the oven to its highest setting - it will be turned down as soon as the meat goes in.
- Using a food processor with a metal blade attachment or a pestle and mortar, blend the onion, rosemary, garlic, sage, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, lime juice and zest into a thickish paste. Season with salt and pepper
- Dry the skin of the joint thoroughly with a clean tea-towel
- Cut a criss-cross pattern into the skin with a very sharp knife, and try not to totally penetrate the skin. A Utility knife is ideal for this job.
- Lay the joint out flat, skin side down, on the tea-towel and cut a criss-cross pattern into the meat, this time going halfway through the meat, all over the flesh of the joint. A utility knife is ideal for this task.
- Rub the paste into the cuts in the meat (not the skin)
- If you have the time, leave in to marinate in a cool place for a few hours, or even overnight to let the flavours mingle
- Cover the marinaded meat side with a sheet of tin foil to stop the marinade falling off and lay the joint on a rack, skin-side-up over a roasting tray and rub the remaining tablespoons of olive oil into the skin
- Sprinkle with finely ground sea salt
- Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 220° C (425° F - gas 7) and roast for 20 minutes
- Using a kitchen towel, pat off any excess fat that may be gathering on the top of the crackling
- Reduce the heat to 165° C (325° F - gas 3) and roast for 1.5 to 2 hours. If it is done after 1.5 hours, it won't hurt to rest in a warm place for the last 30 minutes while other accompaniments continue to cook.
- Rest for 10 minutes, then cut into bite-sized chunks
This recipe is based on the way I saw Jamie Oliver cooking pork belly on one of his TV programs, specifically the herby finish and the cooking method; using a very hot oven to start the cooking.
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