Tuesday 17 October 2017

Eating in: Crispy Pork Belly with Chilli Ginger Caramel and Sweet Potatoes

Instead of serving this with an apple compote or sauce, I have often served it with roasted plums, which blend very well with the fennel seeds and ginger.

It would also be delicious sliced into thick strips and served while watching the match on a television with a bottle of cool beer.

Serves four.

YOU WILL NEED

1.2kg boneless pork belly, skin scored

2 tsp salt

extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp dark brown sugar

juice of 1 lemon

For the fennel and chilli rub

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp sea salt

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 x 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and

grated

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the sweet potatoes

extra virgin olive oil

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

into 2cm pieces

1 x 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and

sliced into fine julienne

salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

To make the rub, toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for about 30 seconds. Grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar with the garlic and sea salt. Transfer to a small bowl and add the chilli, ginger, brown sugar and oil.

Retain two teaspoons to sprinkle over the pork at the end of the cooking time.

Rub the rest over the skin of the pork belly and allow the flavours to develop for a few hours or even overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Place the pork belly in a roasting tin and rub the skin with the salt and some oil. Roast the meat for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.

Mix the brown sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle over the pork.

Return the meat to the oven and roast for a further 1 hour 30 minutes, basting from time to time. About half an hour before the end of the pork belly's cooking time, drizzle a large roasting tin with a little extra virgin olive oil and heat for two minutes in the oven.

Add the sweet potatoes and the ginger julienne and toss well, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning from time to time. Once cooked, remove from the oven and keep warm.

Increase the heat to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7 and roast the pork for a final 15 minutes to finish the crackling, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

Sprinkle over the reserved two teaspoons of the chilli and ginger rub and allow to rest for 10 minutes loosely covered with foil.

Carve into thick slices and serve with the ginger sweet potatoes.

Irish Independent

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