Often in restaurants, dishes take on a life of their own. Some may just appear for a short seasonal spell. Others become staples that appear again and again in one form or another.
My pork belly is one such dish. It has been appearing on my menus since 2008 when I was at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. There are a few reasons for this. Every menu should offer a white meat option and pork belly is mine. This recipe is really versatile; it works with an assortment of flavours.
Currently at Restaurant Mark Greenaway it is served with pork cheek “pie”, blackened fillet and sweetcorn. Why not try this pork belly as an alternative for Christmas? It becomes truly festive when accompanied by mulled pears.
While it takes a day to prepare, it is so simple; you can pop it in the oven and forget about it. You could even leave the pork in the oven overnight for 11 hours – I hope that some of you are lucky enough to get 11 hours sleep! – and enjoy it the next day.
When it comes to putting the plate together, it only takes 12 minutes so it is the ideal meal to prepare in advance and wow your dinner party guests with.
Half a pork belly (1.5kg approx)
2 litres water
A drizzle of oil
Preheat your oven to 120C. Place your pork belly, skin side down, in an oven tray. Pour in the water until it comes halfway up the belly.
Season with salt. Cover in tinfoil and place in the oven for 11 hours.
Once cooked, take the tray out of the oven and discard half of the cooking liquor.
Place a tray of equal size on top of the pork belly so that it presses the meat down.
Place in the fridge for eight hours. Once cold and pressed cut into four equal portions.
Toffee apple jus
150g caster sugar
150ml apple juice
1 litre of good quality beef stock, reduced down to 150ml
Place the sugar in a pan on a medium heat and make a dry caramel.
Once a deep brown colour is achieved, carefully add the apple juice.
Stir in the reduced beef stock.
Simmer for about 5 minutes until reduced by a third.
4 large potatoes
Bake the potatoes at 185C for two hours.
Cut the potatoes in half.
Scoop out the flesh and weigh out 400g.Mash the potato or pass it through drum sieve. Transfer to a pan.
Melt the butter into the milk and pour slowly into the potatoes while stirring.
Season with salt.
Preheat oven to 200C. In a non-stick pan, add a little oil and place the pork belly into the cold pan, skin side down.
Place the pan in the oven for 12 minutes or until the skin has turned nice and crisp.
Meanwhile heat the toffee apple jus and pomme purée.