The ultimate in comfort food – a slow roasted pork belly with tender meat and crunchy crackling. Serve with cranberry red cabbage, roast potatoes or tender mashed potatoes and a punchy apple sauce. This is easy to make and you can leave it to cook itself. But try to start it the night before so that the marinade permeates the meat and gives it that oh so tasty fennel and garlic infused taste.It will take around 3 hours to cook so allow yourself enough time.
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 clove garlic
A few sprigs of thyme, stripped from the stalk
Good grind of black pepper
1 tsp Sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
500g pork belly
Put the sea salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and sea salt into a pestle and mortar and bash to a paste (the salt will melt the garlic down). Add the 1 tbsp olive oil and mix to a rough paste. Remove the pork from its packaging and massage the paste into the flesh – but don’t let it go anywhere near the skin. Lay it in a plastic container,skin side up and leave to marinade over night.
The next day pre heat your oven to 180c fan lift the pork on to a rack above a roasting tray, rub the skin with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a good grating of sea salt. Put the pork into the oven and roast for 30 minutes then turn the oven down to 160c fan and cook for 2 hours. Put some water into the bottom tray to stop it smoking – you may need to top it up occasionally.
After 2 hours turn the oven up to 200c fan, this will crisp up the crackling. It will be cooked after another 30 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve with vegetables of you choice and a good cider gravy.