Recipe
Comments 28

Slow Roast Pork Belly with Cider & Lentils

Roast Pork Belly with Cider

Slow roast pork belly with cider - a little messy but it tastes *good*!

And now it’s November. It’s dark and cold, it’s been quite wet. That’s ok though, life is all about balance, the rough with the smooth, the highs with the lows, the summer with the winter, and I embrace it. Well, most of the time and maybe not the rain, I had enough of that growing up in Ireland!

I’ve had a busy few months leading up to this, new flat, new job, new everything it seemed, and now that everything is starting to settle, well almost, I took some time this month to experiment, a little, and indulge alot. It’s been a month for comfort food.

Comfort food is at once a friend and an enemy, that first spoonful is so lovely, but by the end, I can start to hate it as I’ve usually eaten way too much. One of the exceptions to this rule is slow roast pork belly, which never grows tired. In fact, I only wished I’d roasted double so that I could have eaten it for the week and not just two days. Of course, that would have been horribly greedy and gluttonous (catholic guilt: seven deadly sins!), there’s also the small issue of health to think of, so I am destined forever to cook small portions, in an attempt at control.

Vegetables that the pork belly roasted on

I have been obsessed with pork belly for some time, the obsession ramped up a notch at Taste of London when I sampled the pork belly from Le Cafe Anglais. Within a short time I was at the restaurant and sampling it there. Hola, full blown obsession! The moist and tender meat blanketed with that oh so crispy crackling, I started researching to see how I could recreate that perfect meal.

So, these are the secrets I uncovered. Most important is slow roasting, start it at a high temperature and reduce it to low, and wait. Roast it with cider or wine for moisture or flavour. Add vegetables to flavour the juices. A variety of herbs and spices are used from fennel to aniseed. So, I thought, what kind of flavours do I want with my pork? I settled on fennel, thyme and cider, and it worked quite well.

Pork Belly Lunch!

Pork Belly Lunch!

I roasted 500g pork, enough for one greedy person over two days or two normal people for dinner. I had my leftovers for lunch the next day, mmmm. Double up if you want to make enough for two, and on and on. It’s a very cheap dish incidentally, pork belly is very inexpensive, especially when you consider the luxury of the final product.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

500g pork belly – get your butcher to score the top of it
1tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp maldon sea salt
1 carrot
1 stick celery
a few springs of thyme
a few cloves garlic
half red onion, sliced
200g brown lentils (I used Italian mountain lentils but green or puy would be good too)
1 bottle of dry cider

Method:

Preheat the oven to to 250 degrees.
Grind the fennel seeds and salt in a pestle and mortar and rub all over the pork belly. You might need to pat the pork belly dry with some kitchen paper first.
Chop the vegetables coarsely, leave the thyme and garlic whole. Place all in a lightly oiled roasting dish and place the pork belly on top. Make sure the meat covers the veg or they will burn.
Roast for 20 minutes then reduce to 150 degrees and roast for a further 2 hours.
Remove the pork from the oven, it will be crisping nicely by now and add the lentils. Add enough cider to cover the lentils generously and put back in the oven for a further hour or until the lentils are cooked. You’ll need to stir the lentil occasionally and add more liquid if you need to.
Remove from the oven and rest the meat for 5 minutes.
Slice and serve the lentils without the veg with the pork belly on top.

(note: I left the veg in for lunch but that was because I was rushed! The veg really loses it’s flavour over the lengthy cooking process, you just need it to flavour the lentils and the juices)

28 Comments

  1. DROOL! I adore pork belly and I love the lentils in here, it gives the impression of a healthy touch! I know what you mena about the over-indulgence and getting a bit tired of it but if you are telling me you get tired of chorizo, I’m not sure I believe you! ;)

  2. reactivecooking says

    That looks beautiful – I love belly pork and lentils, but have never thought about doing them together.

    May I put this on Nibblous? (Properly attributed, of course).

  3. Great recipe – my butcher sells the most wonderful pork belly…great slabs of meat that mke you feel that you’ve bought something substantial and got good value for your money.

    The best thing about that recipe is the sandwiches you’d make the following day!

  4. Oh Niamh!! How fantastic. Pork and lentils are just made to be toether. I’ve never made a slow-roast pork belly but now I’m inspired!

  5. Pingback: Slow-roasted pork belly with cider & lentils « Later On

  6. [eatingclub] vancouver || js – thanks!

    Helen – it’s definitely an impression – those lentils are *covered* in pork fat. And you can add chorizo to the list with pork belly. How could I forget?!

    reactivecooking – thanks & I’ve emailed you.

    rich – thanks! I got this from one of my fave butchers. Sandwiches would be delish.

    Jeanne – thanks! I recommend and am flattered :-)

  7. The pork belly looked fab, but what wine did you have with it??

    I can’t imagine such a lovely piece of pork with out some sort of german riesling! :-)

  8. It’s a really good thing I ate dinner before seeing that photo. goodness gracious but That is food porn if ever I saw it!

    {p.s. Wondrous to meet you.}

  9. Wow. This looks like my dream November meal! I love it. I think I’m going to have to pay a visit to “Pork Belly Addicts Anonymous”.

    Macaroon class yesterday was so much fun. I can’t wait for the next event. Let’s talk on Monday about a cognac and tequila masterclass….

  10. foodrambler says

    Niamh,

    This sounds and looks so delicious. Pork & cider are two of my very favourite things – can’t wait to try it out.

    The class on Saturday was so much fun – it was great to meet you and all the other foodbloggers – thank you!

    Abi xx

  11. lovely. I love pork belly and am glad more people are eating it these days. I can imagine the lentils and cider working *so* well. nice recipe!

  12. Winesleuth – no wine actually! I’d cider. Will try a Riesling next time :-) Thanks.

    Loving Annie – thanks! Enjoy.

    Shuna – Lol, hyou’re too kind! Thanks :-) Lovely to meet you too. Hope to see you again soon!

    Jonathan – thanks so much for the kind words and the award! So sweet of you. I think Pork Belly Addicts Anonymous is next to Chorizo Anonymous ;-) I’ve a new one now too – fuet from Barcelona!

    Abi – thanks! Enjoy. It was lovely to meet you, and it was lots of fun.

    Leigh – thanks! I’ve more to cook tonight! This time with apples :-)

  13. Looks lovely, and the belly pork is heading in the oven now. Got some left over ciabatta that I baked earlier that should be good with it at lunch tomorrow!

  14. I am sitting here looking at menus starving and just came accross this and am worse now! It looks totally amazing! I always order pork belly on a menu no matter what it is with!

  15. Name: yum! God, I want some now.

    Niall – lol, thanks. Me too. I have been accused of having an obsession. Imagine!

    Matt – thanks! It is one of the finest foods :-)

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  18. I love this recipe. I’ve been curing and smoking pork belly for bacon but so far haven’t cooked any as an entree. Can’t wait to try this.

  19. Pingback: Well, hello there 2013! Come on in. Plus the top recipes from 2012. |

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