Luscious Pork Belly

Serves 2-3

There’s something irresistible about slow cooked pork. It is meltingly tender and the flavour is rich and moreish. This recipe uses pork belly strips which do appear to have a lot of fat on them, but don’t let that put you off – anyway, that’s where all the gorgeous flavour comes from. The cooking process allows most of the fat to render out which can then be discarded.

However, to cut through the fattiness, a spicy and zesty Luscious Citrus Relish is used which really cuts through any oiliness. Luscious Citrus Relish is just as its name describes and lends itself well to this oriental inspired recipe. Although it takes time to cook, the oven does most of the work over that time – it even creates the sauce – leaving you to get on with other things as the house fills with delicious aromas. To improve the texture of the pork, it is given a final sizzling in a pan.

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 3 tbsp Luscious Citrus Relish
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • half tsp chinese five spice powder
  • 500g pork belly strips

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Method

Preheat the oven to Gas 4 / 180C.

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, Luscious Citrus Relish, soy sauce and five spice powder into a casserole pot and mix well to combine.

Place in the pork belly strips and turn them in the mixture until they are well coated.

Put in the oven and after 20 minutes turn down the heat to Gas 2 / 150C and cook slowly for 2 hours.

Once cooked, the pork should be really tender.

Remove the pork from the casserole, using tongs and set aside.

Skim any excess fat that has accumulated on the top of the cooking juices, then tip the juices and all the bits into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the liquid into a sieve over a saucepan and work through with a wooden spoon so that you have an even smoother sauce.

Place the sauce on the hob over a medium heat and bring to the boil and cook until the liquid volume has reduced by half and become thick and glossy. Keep warm.

Now to sizzle the pork belly strips. Heat a cast iron griddle pan (or similar) until very hot. Using tongs carefully place the meat, fat edge down on to the pan (you may have to arrange the slices so that they prop each other up) then cook until they crisp, blacken slightly and some of the fat renders out. Then place the pork on its sides to quickly sizzle.

Cut the pork into bite size chunks. Serve with the sauce drizzled over, steamed Thai fragrant rice and a crisp green salad.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS

Luscious Citrus Relish is available from Edible Ornamentals, a chilli farm in Bedfordshire. They grow a huge variety of chillies from the mild to the seriously hot. As well as chillies, the relish also contains oranges and limes.

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