Monday, 24 October 2016

Spice Pork Belly & Chicory Gratin

As usual when I wanted a good hunk of meat I went to Ginger Pig in Borough Market. One of the other things that I like so much about them is that while they do not have a full range outside of main market days they are still open and there is still plenty of choice. On this occasion for instance I bought my slab of pork plus spicy Italian sausage to mix with minced beef for lasagne and chicken legs for fricasée.

The inspiration for the pork lies mainly with Niamh Shields of Eat Like A Girl while the chicory gratin was in an issue of Olive magazine.

Gratinating the chicory brings out a slight sweetness but they still retain their mildly bitter kick which works well with the cream and fattiness of the pork.

This was amazingly good - the pork was beautifully tender, juicy and flavourful while the crackling was the best I have had in, well, possibly ever. And as for the chicory, which uncooked I’m not a massive fan of usually, was sublime.

Spiced Roasted Pork Belly
serves 2

500g good pork belly, skin scored
50ml white wine
½ tbsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp sea salt
½ tbsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp chilli powder
½ lemon, zest only
1 clove garlic, chopped

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Grind the spice rub ingredients fennel seeds through garlic to a fine paste in a pestle and mortar.

Put the pork in a colander or on a wire rack in the sink and pour over some boiling water to fluff up the skin a little. Blot well dry with kitchen paper.

Rub the spice mix all over the flesh, underside and sides, of the pork only. Not the skin.

Rub the skin with about ½ tablespoon olive oil and plenty of sea salt.

Add to a roasting tray just a little bigger than the meat, and pour in 50mls wine at the side. This will keep the end of the meat moist and will prevent it drying out (you can just use water if you like).

After two hours, the belly should be cooked through but still very moist.

Turn the heat up to 220C for 20 minutes or so, until the crackling is crisped up but not burned. If you prefer you can do this under the grill.

Rest for 10 minutes and serve in slices or chunks.

Chicory Gratin
serves 2

2 heads chicory, halved
½ tsp soft light brown sugar
½ tbsp cider vinegar
75ml double cream
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp parmesan

Fry the chicory cut-side down in a large pan until they start to brown then sprinkle in the sugar, shake the pan and keep cooking as the butter and sugar further caramelise the chicory.

Add the cider vinegar and flip the chicory over.

Cook for 3-4 minutes then add a splash of water, pop a lid on and cook on a low heat for ten minutes until the chicory is tender.

You can either leave it in the pan if that can go under the grill or spoon into a gratin dish and then drizzle over the cream, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan.

Brown under a hot grill until the top is bubbling and golden.

Rest for 5 minutes.

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