Cider Braised Pork Belly
It's one of those dishes destined to irritate with how much crunch is going on. I don't even need to wax lyrical about it, I'm just gonna tell you whats in it: Apple slaw, crispy crushed sage potatoes, roasted, sweet, porky apples and crispy pork belly laced with ginger and älska cider. Need I say more?
1kg Pork Belly
3 Apples, two quartered, the other juilienned
1/2 Head of Cabbage (1/2 of which is finely sliced, 1/2 of which roughly diced)
1kg Waxy Potatoes, (small to medium size is ideal, like the size of a golf ball)
1litre Kiwifruit and Lime Alska Cider (in the absence of the cider, use apple cider with a slices of peeled kiwifruit and juice of one lime)
1 Inch of Ginger, peeled and grated
4 Teaspoons of Oregano
1 Teaspoon of Dried Sage
4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 Red Onions, peeled and finely diced
2 Stalks of Spring Onion, finely sliced
Juice of One Lemon
Flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Score the pork skin with a knife - I like to score it quite aggressively in the places you want to cut it for serving (I went for 5 large pieces). Rub it with a generous amount of olive oil then sprinkle with salt.
Choose a roasting tray that fits the pork belly, but not too snugly. In the roasting tray, mix the cider with the ginger and half the oregano. Put the pork in the roasting dish with the quartered apples, then put it in the oven on a low tray for 1 hour and forty minutes.
While that's happening, boil the potatoes until cooked through. Drain the potatoes and then crush while hot. I use a paper towel folded up a couple of times to protect my hand. Warm a roasting tray in the oven and then melt two tablespoons of goose fat. Spread it all around. Rub each side of each the squashed potato in the goose fat, then arrange in the pan for roasting. Bits and piece will probably break off, but that's just making extra crispy bits for you. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and the dried sage. Set aside - we'll pop them in the oven in the last half an hour while blasting the pork to get a crispy crackling skin.
In a frying pan with a lug of olive oil, saute on medium-high heat the rest of the garlic, oregano, along with the onions and the roughly diced red cabbage. Saute until the cabbage and onion are soft and beginning to caramelize. Once done, mix the juilienned apple, finely sliced cabbage and lemon juice with the fried ingredients.
After the pork has been roasting for the one hour and forty minutes, move it up to the middle/upper of the oven, increase the heat to 200 C for thirty-five minutes. Put the potatoes in underneath.
Once the pork has crisped up, take it out and let it rest for 5 minutes. Increase the temperature of the oven to 240 C (or maximum temp, if lower) and while the pork is resting, really blast the hell out of the potatoes to get them brown with corners charring, all-round crispiness really.
Take out when done. Carve the pork along the score marks and serve in a nice large piece. On the side, a couple of crispy potatoes and the salad. Serve with the roasted porky apples. So damn delicious. Sprinkle with a small handful of almonds to maximise crunch across the dish. Pepper that puppy and enjoy!