Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Skye Gyngell's Slow-cooked belly of pork

I can hear Prime Time on in the background and it seems that officially our little country is in big trouble, reports and reporters reaching fever pitch on the news and on the radio by tea time this evening.  I wish I was a child and oblivious to it all.
A tried and tested method to enhancing your mood is a slow cooked soft sweet piece of meat and a glass of wine and this was perfect tonight, bordering on sublime. And in the interests of my purse, it was about 8 euro for the piece which fed two too well but would easily have stretched to three.

This is a Skye Gyngell recipe for Slow-cooked belly of Pork from her new book, How I Cook.
I am borderline obsessed with this book as the recipes are just so delicious, simple and inspire me to cook even when I feel a bit fooded-out and fed up with it all.
I used the following ingredients to feed 2:

1kg pork belly with skin on (I bought a piece with no bones)
2 tblsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
1 large red onions, peeled and quartered
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled but lightly crushed
5 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary, needles removed and chopped
250ml dry white wine
4 tblsp red wine vinegar
5 tblsp water

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, score the skin at 2cm intervals with cuts about 5mm deep.  Rub olive oil and salt all over the skin.
Place the belly, skin side up in a roasting tray and roast on the middle oven shelf for 50 minutes.

Lift out the pork and place the pork piece on a board.  Sprinkle the vegetables, garlic and herbs into the base of the roasting tray and add the wine, vinegar and water.  Cover snugly with tin foil.  Replace the pork and place back into the oven immediately turning the heat down to 160 degrees.

Cook for 2 1/4 hours. Check it intermittently stirring the vegetables around a little in case they stick.  I found that towards the end of cooking they did turn quite black, but these are discarded at the end and are only in place to raise the meat off the floor of the roasting pan and to give flavour.

Uncover after the 2 1/4 hours and return to the oven turning the heat up to 200 degrees for 15 minutes in total.

Remove from the oven, leave in a warm place and let the meat rest for 20 minutes before serving.

I served this tonight with baby carrots roasted in the oven for 35 minutes with runny honey, a piece of rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  I also served some sliced potatoes, baked in the oven with cream, butter and a little garlic - these should take about 45 minutes.  Calorific but wonderful.

It was an inexpensive and utterly soothing supper, perfect for the day that was in it!

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