I got given a meat voucher for my birthday a little while back. When faced with the options of exactly what meat to get, I quickly settled on pork belly. The cut was long, boneless and perfect. That, in a bath of cloudy apple cider, ginger, garlic and fennel and you've got a layered, sophisticated pork belly. That, and it's CRAZY easy to make. You'll need about 6 hours for a silly-tender pork belly with great crackling.
1kg Boneless Pork Belly
1 Teaspoon of Fennel Seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar.
1 Apple, quartered
750ml Cloudy Apple Cider
5 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced
2 Teaspoons of Grated Ginger
Preheat the oven to 150 C.
On a chopping board, take out your pork belly and dry all over with a paper towel. Score the skin with a sharp knife - you are aiming to cut through the skin into the fat layer, but without cutting into the meat. Aim for a cm apart on a 45 degree angle.
Rub with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt, with special attention to the skin.
Move to a roasting dish that has enough extra room for about 750ml liquid without overflowing.
In a bowl, mix the cider, garlic, ginger, crushed fennel seeds and about a teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Pour the mixture around the pork belly.
Place in the oven about on the first or second rack and cook for four hours. After the four hours, move up a rack to the middle of the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Turn the oven to grill at about 250 degrees and watch the crackling flourish. The skin should be bubbly and crispy sounding when you run a knife over it. Keep going until it just starts to char and then get it out of there!
The "juice" is fat. It's full of flavour. Drizzle that over whatever you serve the pork belly with. Like potato mash. Or polenta.