Category: Pork,Recipes | Post by: Andrea Wong
Over the past couple of years, pork belly has popped up on many restaurant menus around the country. And why not: the tender meat, juicy fat, and crisp, crunchy crackling is hard to pass by. However, I've found it intimidating to cook... too intimidating, until recently.
What is it about pork belly that had me shy away from it in the past? Perhaps it's because it seems so complicated. But since starting So D'lish, I seem to have developed a gung-ho attitude towards cooking new things. Why not try cooking pork belly, how hard can it be?
I've discovered that making pork belly is quite easy to do although it can be time consuming. I've made it a few times and it turns out well. The success is in the crackling, in my humble opinion. Get the crackling right and it's bound to be a winner!
For this recipe, I wanted to cook it restaurant style, that is cooked, pressed overnight and the crisped up the next day. While this may sound like a hassle, I realised that it could easily fit into your week's evening meal plan – if you're using the oven one night, you could do the roasting then. Press the pork belly overnight and quickly reheat and crisp up the skin and eat it the following night.
When the people from New Zealand Pork approached me to share a pork recipe using 100% New Zealand pork, I took it as a great opportunity to serve up another pork belly dinner for myself and Mr H. They very kindly supplied me with a nice piece of free-range Harmony pork belly for my recipe.
New Zealand Pork's website Extraordinary Kitchen, has lots of tips, videos and recipes using pork which is a useful resource. For example, I was shocked to learn that 45% of pork sold in New Zealand is imported. I never would have guessed the figure was that high. Make sure that your pork is from New Zealand, people! And buy free-range, if you can too.
I teamed the pork belly up with a quick and easy grilled pineapple salsa. The freshness and acidity of the pineapple helps to cut through the fat in the pork. Go gung-ho like me and give pork belly a whirl, I'd love to know how you get on!
Pork belly with grilled pineapple salsa
750g pork belly
2 cups milk
1-2 Tbsp salt for the pork
1/3 fresh pineapple, thinly sliced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 lime, juiced
pinch of salt
- Heat oven to 140ºC. Pat the pork skin dry and score the skin with a sharp knife, piercing the skin but not cutting the flesh. Score in both directions, which will help it crackle nicely
- Sprinkle salt over the skin and put into a roasting dish just a bit larger than the pork
- Pour enough milk in so that it covers the flesh about 2/3 of the way up, but be sure not to get the skin wet
- Cook for 2 hours. Top up the milk if you need to after an hour
- Drain the milk off, allow to cool in the baking dish, then wrap with Glad Wrap® plastic food wrap and weigh down the pork with a couple of cans and refrigerate overnight
- The next day, heat the oven to 230ºC and take the wrap off and pat the pork skin dry if needed. Roast for 20 mins or until the skin is crisp and bubbly.
Grilled pineapple salsa
- Heat a skillet or frying pan on high and grill the pineapple slices for a few minutes on each side
- Finely dice the raw and grilled pineapple, add the shallots, a pinch of salt and stir in the lime juice.
Serve a piece of pork belly with a generous spoonful of salsa.
Thanks to 100% New Zealand Pork for supplying the Harmony free-range pork belly.
Note: I got a letter from Glad Wrap®'s lawyers because I didn't put the little registered trademark symbol after the name. The alternative was to call it 'food wrap' or 'cling film', which I hate. I always say "Glad Wrap®", so "Glad Wrap®" it is, albeit with the little ® symbol.