With Autumn here I thought it was about time to make something hearty and comforting. The price of pork belly has gone up as its become more popular, but it is still relatively cheap and very tasty (currently in the UK priced about £5 a kilo). My starting point for this recipe was thinking about the classic French dish Cassoulet, which is often made with pork, as well as duck and Toulouse sausage. I decided to use tinned beans to save preparation time and was very pleased with the results.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 kilo belly of pork
5-6 carrots, large dice
200g cherry tomatoes
4 Rashers of smoked bacon
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 small sprig of sage
½ onion chopped
1Tbsp olive oil
1 tin of chilli beans
1 tin cannellini beans
3 large cloves garlic unpeeled
1 tsp fresh coriander chopped
100 grams Broccoli
- Score the skin (if this is not already done) with a very sharp knife.
- Place the belly of pork in a large stainless steel saucepan and half fill with cold water, add the onion, garlic and sage. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
- After 40 minutes add the diced carrots to part cook them for the last 5 minutes then take them out of the saucepan and allow them to cool.
- Remove the pork from the cooking liquor and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the smoked paprika on both sides and roast in a hot oven 190 C 375F gas mark 5 until tender (about 1 hour 45 minutes). Ideally, place the pork on a wire rack so it not sitting directly on the roasting pan. If the pork starts to get too brown move it onto a lower shelf in the oven.
- Remove the garlic from the cooking liquor, crush and return to the saucepan.
Discard the sage and reduce the liquor until there is just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Heat a frying pan and fry off the 4 rashers of smoked bacon and remove from the pan, drain on paper towel.
- Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the bacon fat and brown the carrots and cook them until they are lightly browned, then add the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper then transfer to the lower shelf of the oven and roast until tender, then remove from the oven.
- Turn the belly of pork from time to time but leave it on it’s belly for the last 30 minutes.
- Break the broccoli into small florets and blanch in boiling water and then cool down fast in cold water to keep nice and green. Drain and reserve.
- Now add both tins of beans to your reduced cooking liquor (first rinse them and then drain them) before adding them and heat the mix up gently.
- Dice the bacon into small pieces and add to the beans along with the broccoli.
Let the belly rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before cutting. Stir the fresh coriander into the bean mix and divide between 4 warm bowls. Top with the roasted carrots and tomatoes and finally a couple of slices of pork belly.
The skin on the belly should be crispy so it will slice easier if your turn it meat side up so your cutting through the skin (crackling) last. I used white cannellini beans and chilli beans because it is what I had in my cupboard, but you can you any type of white bean or kidney beans if you wish.
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