Tag Archives: Pork Belly

Melting Spiced Pork with Aubergine

1 Dec

Not quite a curry, but with just a few fragrant spices and a gentle cook in the oven, you’ll be rewarded with a pot of melting meat and aubergine which will make you oh so happy! And for non meat eaters, read on to the end for a vegetarian alternative.

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Ingredients, to serve four with rice

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 750g pork cut into bite sized chunks (I used skinless pork belly strips)
  • 2 aubergines cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 onions, peeled and very finely diced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander (separate stems and leaves and finely chop both)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of a lime

Heat oven to 200C/180C Fan Oven/Gas 6. Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan that has a lid and fry the meat until browned (you may need to do this in batches), remove from the pan.

Add the aubergine and brown (you may need a little extra oil), remove from the pan and put with the pork.

Now add the sugar to the pan and allow to caramelise slightly, then return  the meat and aubergine to the pan with the cinnamon and star anise.

Put the onions, ginger, most of the chili (reserving a little for garnishing) and the chopped coriander stalks into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the fish sauce and enough water to cover the mixture completely.

Cover and place in the oven for an hour. Remove, stir in most of the coriander and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Garnish with any remaining coriander and chili and serve with boiled rice and vegetables.

For a vegetarian version, omit the pork, and replace with a mixture of robust mushrooms such as brown chestnut and shitake. Substitute the fish sauce with a light soy sauce.

 
Inspired by a BBC Good Food recipe

Smokey Pork Belly Strips with Roasted Vegetables

8 Dec

Pork belly is a big favourite in our house but from reading recipes and comments on other lovely blogs, I’ve realised that not everyone can get hold  of whole pieces of pork belly. In fact, in Spain I have to ask the butcher to not slice it up as it’s also more typical to sell belly slices.

Smokey Pork Belly (3)

Usually pork belly slices are barbecued in Spain but here in the UK in December the weather doesn’t really lend itself to outdoor cooking – not that I wouldn’t grab the chance if the weather was perfect at the right moment!

I wanted to use belly slices and to try to recreate some of the smokey flavours in my kitchen without setting off the smoke alarm and causing panic amongst the neighbours. Easy…use the oven Chica!

Ingredients (to service 2)

Turn oven on to almost the highest setting

  • A mix of root vegetables cut into large chunks (I used sweet potatoes, potatoes and carrots)
  • An onion cut into thick slices and about 6-8 whole garlic cloves
  • 6-8 pork belly slices
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked pimentón or paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Put all the vegetables with the onion and garlic into an oven tray, season, drizzle well with oil and mix to ensure all the vegetables are coated.

Rub the pork belly slices in the mustard powder and the pimentón and season lightly.

Cook the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Lay the pork belly slices over the top of the vegetables and continue to cook for about another 20 minutes or until the pork belly is browned and crisp.

Enjoy with a warming glass of red wine and if you have any vegetables left over, add some stock the next day, blitz and enjoy a delicious roasted root vegetable soup.

For another pork belly recipe, check out my Smokey Pork with Pimentón and Peppers or Crispy Pork Belly with Stir Fried Cabbage.

Crispy Pork Belly with Stir Fried Cabbage and Mushrooms

13 Apr

Another easy recipe from my Gok Wan Cookbook. You do need to plan ahead, just to make sure the pork is good and dry before cooking, but other than that, it’s a doddle.

Crispy Pork with Chinese Spiced Cabbage (1)

Ingredients

  • 1 pork belly (or piece, mine weighed about .75kg)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
  • Sea (kosher) salt

For the vegetables (a Chica recipe!)

  • About half a savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 6-8 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • Soy Sauce
  • A teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Light soy sauce

Dry the pork belly well with kitchen paper, prick the skin all over with a fork and score the meat and skin with cuts about 5cm apart.

Rub the skin with the vinegar and lemon juice and rub the neat with the Chinese Five Spice powder, the pepper and some salt. Rub the skin with salt and leave overnight (uncovered) on a grill tray with an oven tray underneath in the fridge or a cool place.

Return the pork to room temperature before cooking (about 2 hours in the kitchen). Heat the oven to 170 degrees C/325 F/Gas 3 and cook for about 40 minutes on its rack. Turn the oven up to high and cook for a further 25 minutes until the skin is crispy. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. As you can see, mine didn’t crisp all over and I recommend popping it under a hot grill to sort this out. Or just eat and enjoy!

For the veggies, heat a little oil in a wok (I used a mixture of sesame and sunflower) and put the garlic, ginger, cabbage and mushrooms in and stir fry over a high heat until the cabbage starts to wilt.  If you like the cabbage softer, add a tablespoon or two of water and cover and cook gently for a few minutes.  Add a few dashes of soy sauce to taste and serve.

Chinese Leftovers Soup (1)

Leftover veggies can be added to stock, throw in a handful of noodles (I used angel hair vermicelli), spice it up with chili sauce and serve as a delicious next day leftovers soup. Add any leftover pork if you have it and don’t want a vegetarian soup, your choice.  Two meals for the price of one!

Faggots and Onion Gravy

22 Feb

Faggots are an old fashioned English dish made from offcuts of meat (usually pork) and offal. I remember as a child my grandmother waxing lyrical about them and me turning my nose up in disgust. Of course, now I’m almost grown up, my tastes have changed and having lived in Spain for 7 years, I am used to enjoying every part of the pig, including the oink.

A local butcher in Bexhill on Sea sells home made (or butcher shop made) Faggots for the princely sum of 50p each. That’s less than a euro or a US dollar and I mistakenly bought 6 for Big Man and I to try. Bad plan. Two was plenty for him and I managed one and a half (although I did serve the leftovers cut up cold the next day meatloaf style and the dogs feasted too)!

Faggots & Onion Gravy (5)

This is not a recipe for making them. As I started typing this I thought, I’ll pop over to Mad Dog’s blog, he’ll have something on there about faggots. Of course he did. My method for preparing them to serve was very similar, but different. If you know what I mean.

I cooked my faggots in the oven in a deep oven dish covered tightly with foil for about 40 minutes on a medium heat. I had drizzled them with a little olive oil and a splash of water.

While they were cooking I fried off lots of thinly sliced onions until tender and starting to brown. Then I added the cooking juices from the faggots, some tomato purée and a splash of red wine and seasoning. Then I thickened with a heaped teaspoon of butter mixed with a heaped teaspoon of flour (I’m sure there’s a proper name for this, please enlighten me) which I dropped into the gravy and allowed to cook gently whilst it thickened. Next time (and there will most definitely be a next time) I’ll brown the faggots at the end of cooking while I’m finshing off the gravy so that they don’t look so in need of a week in the sun.

Pre cooking

Pre cooking

We served it with plenty of creamy mashed potato and a good glass (or three) of wine. An economy meal fit for a king. What more can you want on a cold winter’s night?

Broad Beans with Griddled Pork Belly

16 Feb

Reading a beautiful recipe over at Cooking in Sens which involved broad beans stimulated a craving for those little green beauties. Back home in Andalucía right now I would normally just pop out into our veggie garden and pick me a basket full.  I haven’t seen any here in England yet but they do have excellent frozen broad bean pods.

Broad beans with pork belly (3)

I decided to make a little dish with echoes of home as a pretty substantial tapas which we enjoyed with some lovely crusty bread from my dad’s Italian baker pal, wine from a recent jaunt over the channel to France, juice from some of our lemons that Big Man bought back recently and locally reared pork. You can’t say we don’t embrace all that is available to us!

Ingredients as a main course for one or starters for two

  • 1 cup of broad beans cooked until tender and drained
  • 2 thin slices of pork belly cooked on the griddle until browned and cut into small pieces (or use bacon or lardons, or mushrooms for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 avocado cut into small chunks
  • Olive oil
  • The grated rind of one lemon and the juice of half
  • Sweet pimentón
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chopped parsley to finish (I didn’t have any but I think it would be perfect)

Mix together the still warm beans, pork and avocado. Add the lemon rind, about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more if necessary) and the lemon juice. Season with the pimentón, salt and pepper and mix again. That’s it. Tricky wasn’t it?!

Slow Roasted Pork Belly with a Chinese Style Sauce

2 May

We love pork belly, but here it is more traditionally used as “pancetta”, boiled in stocks and soups to add flavour or cut into tiny chunks and done on the plancha (griddle) or deep fried as a little tapas. Often it will have the skin removed.

Big Man knows that I don´t like the flowers sold in the very few florists we ever come across here (funeral meets petrol station bouquet) so I am romanced with food surprises. Cheese covered in rosemary, tangy little apples to remind me of England, bunches of wild asparagus, a freshly caught rabbit, mushrooms which have been foraged for, and yesterday a belly of pork with the skin on. Now that´s what I call love.

Today the sun is shining, time to get to work in the garden and vegetable patch, so I needed a dish that I could forget about for a while. This recipe from my old favourite, the BBC Good Food Website, seemed to fit the bill. I did change it slightly as several people commented on the sauce being very sticky and leaving them with some scary washing up. Not for me, I thought, and worked around it.

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 60ml vinegar (I used white wine)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 star anise, broken up slightly
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 100ml rice wine or sherry (I used a dry fino)
  • 1kg boneless pork belly

 Turn the oven on to its lowest setting.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and warm gently until the honey has melted.

Line a small, deep baking tin or dish (one that will fit the meat quite snugly) with greaseproof paper making sure it comes up the sides. I used a large sheet and just placed it in the tin, scrunching it round the meat once it was placed in the tin.

Pour the sauce into the tin then place the meat on top, skin side up. Gather the paper up a little and then make a lid of aluminium foil so that the meat is sealed in the tin.

Cook slowly for about 3 hours, test the meat at the end of this time to ensure the meat is no longer pink. If it is, leave in for a little longer.

Now turn the oven up to the highest setting. Drain the sauce off the meat into a small pan and replace the meat in the baking tray, still skin side up. Continue cooking the meat until the top has turned crispy. Mine took about 45 minutes but you could always put it under a hot grill instead (not too close though or it will just burn).

Meanwhile remove any fat from the top of the sauce (I did this with a small ladle) and then fast boil the sauce until it has thickened slightly.

When the meat is done, cut into slices and serve with some of the sauce poured over. We ate ours with plain boiled basmati rice and spinach, picked only an hour before from the garden, which was simply steamed.

Now…has anyone noticed a slight improvement in my photos today? I do hope so! When I was in the UK last week I picked up my new (well, new to me) camera. It´s a Nikon D60 and I am a total photography virgin when it comes to the camera I now have. It has a couple of lenses. One of them, I am sure, will be able to pick out the hand of cards Big Man is holding when playing with the old boys in the summer if he is sat on the terrace of the bar down the road. I haven´t even read the instruction book yet, so am going to enjoy playing with it over the next few months.  Wish me luck…but don´t worry Roger, you have nothing to fear from me…

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