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Saturday, 16 April 2011

Pork Belly in Apple Cider

This is the first time I have attempted pork belly in cider, I have been meaning to do a pork roast in cider for a while. It was worth the wait. If you haven't tried it before, give it a go. After some consultation with a friend this was the direction I decided to take, slowly and, removing the skin at the end and grilling to create crackle while reducing the cooking liquid with some cream. I had planned on placing sliced apple under the pork with some leek but forgot. The leek was omitted and the apples were fried in butter in wedges and served under the pork on the plate. I think that it worked out better this way as the apples weren't mush all through.

1.5 kg piece pork belly (more if you want)
1 onion sliced
1 sprig rosemary stripped and chopped
2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tbs salt (or more)
4 garlic cloves in thick slices
2 bottles of cider (liquid to half way up the meat)
1 tbs cider vinegar
4 Granny Smith apples, quartered, core removed
1 tbs butter
2 or 3 tsp sugar
2 tbs cream
Some Mashed Potato (previous recipe)
Steamed beans

Preheat an oven to 140C. Spread the onion out on a roasting tray to the same size as the pork belly piece, sprinkle the caraway seeds and garlic on top. Rub the salt, pepper and rosemary into the scored skin of the pork. Place the pork on top of the onion, pour in the cider (until about half way up the meat), cover with foil and put into the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the pork from the oven to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the skin from the belly in one piece. Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan and place on a high heat to reduce. Stick the skin, fat side down under the grill on high on the lowest shelf, turning if desired. Watch carefully that it doesn't burn. When the crackle is ready, remove it to a drying rack with absorbent paper underneath (less cleaning up) to dry out and harden. In the mean time, melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the apple wedges flesh side down for about 5 minutes on a medium high heat, remove and cover. Check the reduced cooking liquid for sweetness, if necessary add the sugar and the vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the cream to the sauce and reduce the heat to very low until you are ready to serve. Serve with the apple under the pork, mashed potato, beans, chips of cut crackling and the sauce.

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