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Friday, 6 July 2012

Slow cooked pork

We love the weekend.... Today we've swapped dinner for lunch and are having: twice cooked belly of pork, mash and minted pea puree! I was digging around in the freezer looking for some sausages when I found we still had a couple of portions of pork belly made using the method below. It's quite possible that a few sausages would have more calories and fat, than our slow roasted pork belly! As the pork belly was out of the freezer, it wasn't as moist as it was when fresh, but still tasted fantastic.
The mash was made by roasting the potatoes and scooping out the flesh. We won't be wasting any of the potato skin - we've saved them for later, when we'll put them back in the oven to crisp up. The minted pea puree was made last night. Chop a shallot or onion, and fry until soft, add one clove of garlic, add some frozen peas and cover with a bit of water (or stock) and cook until peas soft. Put in a blender with the mint leaves and salt/pepper - and that's it. 

Cooking method

Remove the skin (and ribs if they are attached) from the belly of pork or ask the butcher to do this.
Take a large stockpot and fill up with your favourite stock vegetables, or whatever you have to hand.  We use: carrot, onion, celery, garlic, leek, bayleaf, thyme and rosemary (no salt and pepper).  Cover the meat with any stock or water if you don't have stock.  If you have the ribs, throw them in too. The more flavours you have at this stage, the tastier the dish.  We prefer to use beef stock.  Bring to the boil and simmer for as long as you can - the longer the better (we simmered ours for 5 hours).
When cooked, remove and place meat on a flat baking tray.  Place another flat baking tray on top and add some weight to press the meat together.  After the long cooking, a lot of the fat has disappeared and this 'pressing' stage compresses the meat into a neat shape.  A few large cans will do the job - press for at least an hour.  When you are ready to eat, simply cut out large squares of meat and fry gently until cooked and heated through.
Meanwhile, the pork skin can been scored and coated with oil and salt, and placed in the oven at high temperature to accompany the pork.

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