Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apples and Cracklin'

Tonight I really had a craving for crispy pork crackling so I decided on a simple twice cooked pork belly, that is easy to cook and uses a technique that ensures that the skin stays crispy and delicious, the way it should be. I did not go overboard with the flavourings for this dish - I wanted the main flavour to be the pork itself. I served the pork with some beautiful organic vine ripened cherry tomatoes, peas and broadbeans. I also decided to try an idea that I stole from the lovely Michael, (Jamie Oliver eat your heart out) who was telling me this weekend about a mash he made once using potatoes and apples. It sounded great, so I've given it a try.

The mash is really delicious and the sweetness/tartness of the apples works really well with the potatoes and the pork. I used the Red Delicious variety of apples today. I did not make a sauce or gravy for the pork - I just poured the pan juices over the top to stick with the simple theme.

The two step process for cooking the pork belly is a good technique to have in your repertoire and is a starting point for a large number of pork belly dishes. I used a small piece of pork belly for tonight's recipe - about 500g.

Twice cooked pork belly with potato and apple mash

You will need: (for the pork) 1 piece boned pork belly (allow about 2oog per person), salt, olive oil, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 small whole red chilli, 3 cloves garlic, 2 spring onions chopped into large pieces.

(For the potato) Equal quantities of peeled potato and peeled and cored apple (allow about 1 apple and 1 potato per person), 1 tablespoon salted butter, 2 tablespoons milk, salt and pepper.

Method: (for the pork) Place the pork in a saucepan with the peppercorns, spring onion, chilli, garlic, generous pinch of salt. Cover the pork with water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the pork from the water and drain it well. Set aside and let it dry for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Rub the pork generously all over and sprinkle with good quality sea salt. Cook for 35 minutes. Turn the heat up to 250C and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

(For the potato) Steam the apples and potato - mash well and then add butter, milk, salt and pepper. Serve with the pork.


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