Roast Pork Belly
Roast Pork Belly is like edible Nirvana. Nirvana refers to an American rock band that was created by the late singer and guitarist, Kurt Cobain, but Buddha also describes “Nirvana” as a state of mind that is free from cravings and many other negative feelings….. and this is where the roast pork belly comes into the picture….. cravings…pork belly, you get the hang of it, right?
In the last month or so, I had the good fortune of tasting roast pork belly from the kitchens of the best Cape Town has to offer, the one and only Luke-Dale Roberts at the Test Kitchen, chef Ian Bergh at De Grendel Restaurant in Plattekloof Cape Town and arguably the best Pork belly sandwich ever from Pete-Goffe Wood at the Biscuit Mill, Cape Town.
So for me roast pork belly is the right type of meat, the right cut of meat and my favorite way of preparing meat, I simply love it! It is however not something to eat every day, so when I do make it, I make sure I buy from the best and also take my time to cook it properly. All the above mentioned chefs have their own personal way of cooking the belly to melt-in-the-mouth-perfection and it involves sous vide and other weigh-it-down-with-a-brick methods, but I had to find a way that works for me in my kitchen and guess what? It came down to salt, pepper and a slow roast….nothing more, just that! You are guaranteed all the elements to take you to that state of Nirvana…….the most unbelievable aromas while the pork is roasting, bold roasted pork flavors, succulent slices of roast pork belly and last but not least…pork crackling to just send you over the edge….. here goes, are you ready?
Roast Pork Belly
serves 4 with a little left over for sandwiches
1.5 kg pork belly – ask butcher to remove the bones
about 2 T whole dry coriander
If you have a very sharp knife at home, score the belly right through the top layer of skin( the crackling part). I score it only one way, the same direction as you are going to cut the meat for serving ( see photo ). If however you do not have a sharp knife, ask your butcher, he will gladly do it for you. Pat the meat dry with some kitchen toweling and leave while you prepare the coriander. Place the whole dry coriander in a dry pan and roast until you can smell the flavors. Place the coriander in a pestle and mortar and crush. Now rub the belly with salt, pepper and the dry coriander, making sure you rub the spices into the scored slices. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Place the pork belly in a roasting pan, on a wire rack and roast for about 2-2½ hours or until the crackling has the perfect crunch. Allow meat to rest for about 10-15 minutes. Enjoy with creamy mash and gravy, roasted apples or give it an Asian Twist and serve it with basmati rice and a Sweet and Sour sauce…. Heaven on a plate!
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