James Tanner shows us how to make an utterly delicious pork belly roast... with half the effort!
1.5kg whole pork belly rib, bones removed
Zest of 1 lemon,
4 tbsp runny honey
2 sticks of celery, rough cut
1 large onion, rough cut
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chopped sage,
1 head garlic, split in half
400g mashed potato
3 tbsp apple sauce
A knob of butter
A splash of milk,
1 tbsp plain flour
1. Preheat oven to high heat 220C/ Gas mark 7.
2. Prepare the pork belly using a sharp knife. Do this by scoring lines around 1cm apart across the skin of the belly deep enough to cut through the skin but do not cut the meat (a clean Stanley knife is great to use for this).
3. Rub fine salt all over the pork with the lemon zest and take the rough cut vegetables, garlic, bay and put in a deep baking tray.
4. Lay the pork on top and put in a hot oven for 25 minutes or until the skin is starting to look crisp, then lower heat to 180C/gas mark 4 and cook for a further two hours.
5. Whilst the pork is cooking prepare the mash by simply boiling the potatoes in salted water until soft then drain and mash with a knob of butter, seasoning and a splash of milk. Set aside then warm up when required.
6. Check the pork after the two hours are up. The crackling should be crisp and meat tender. Carefully remove from tray and set aside on another baking tray. Heat the honey with half the chopped sage then brush all over the crackling. Leave meat to rest loosely covered with a piece of tin foil but do not wrap up tightly as the crackling will go soft!
7. Next take the baking tray with vegetables and pour off any meat juices into a bowl and skim off the fat and set aside. Put the tray back on to the heat, add the flour and mix with the veg for one minute then pour over the cider and reserved meat juices.
8. Simmer and stir, reducing by half stirring, then using a sieve strain the cider gravy into a pan to keep warm and add the remaining chopped sage.
9. To serve, heat through the mash and stir in the apple sauce, cut a slice of pork belly, add a spoonful of hot apple mash and drizzle around the cider gravy.