Slow roast pork with fennel
Ever since the recession hit and Jamie Oliver roasted belly of pork for six hours, the cut of meat has seen a huge revival. From the mahogany tables of smart London restaurants to the ikea tables of skanky student flats, it’s been the cut of the moment.
If you’ve mastered the art of roasting pork belly for an exceedingly long time, and you fancy doing something a bit more inventive with it, then this is a great recipe. It’s full of delicious and sophisticated flavours, and it produces a lovely gravy which is always a bonus.
2 ½ kg pork belly (boned)
4 cloves of garlic
2 big sprigs of rosemary
1 heaped teaspoons of fennel seeds
2 heaped tablespoons of good rock salt
2 white onions
500ml white wine
Score your pork belly, put it in a clean sink and pour boiling water over it. This opens up the scored lines and makes the skin suppler so you can really cram in the herb-rub.
Crush the garlic and finely slice the rosemary, then mix with the fennel seeds. I cheated and used a little blender but a pestle and mortar would do fine…and if you don’t have either, then just crush them up together in a mug a bit with the salt.
Thickly slice the onions and put them in a heap at the bottom of a roasting tin. Pour the wine over the onions, and then rest the belly of pork on top. Finally cram the salty, herby rub into the pork skin. Yum.
Blast the meat for ½ hour at 200C so that the wine warms up, the onions begin to turn translucent, and the skin starts to crisp. Turn the oven down to 150C and let the pork cook gently for three more hours or so…simple as that – go walk the dog, read a few chapters of a book or watch an exceptionally long film – Titanic or something…
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, and put the pork to one side to rest. There should be plenty of juice left at the bottom (if there’s not, then you could add some stock). Stir in a tablespoon of flour, and reduce the gravy for a few minutes by letting it bubble away on the hob. Pour into a heated jug – voila, a porky-oniony, ready-made gravy.
TIP - If the pork skin hasn’t crackled, then pop it under a stonkingly hot grill for a couple of minutes right at the end of cooking, and watch it crackle and bubble up.