I love this way of brining and then cooking the pork belly, as you get a very succulent plump roast with crispy skin. The filling is just as gorgeous, but you can really create any stuffing you’d like.
Serve with potato salad and green leaves in summer or mash, gravy and steamed greens in colder months.
FOR 8–10 MAIN COURSES
2kg boneless pork belly, skin scored every 1 cm
1 stem lemongrass
100g peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
250g crunchy peanut butter
1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes (more or less to taste)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or grated
3 tbsp fresh tarragon or dill, coarsely chopped
- A day or two before you’re planning to eat the pork, you need to brine the belly in a non-reactive, deep-sided roasting dish. Rub the salt into the meat on both sides and leave for 30 minutes. Turn the belly so the skin is facing down, then cover in enough cold water to submerge it. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for 24–48 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Sit a rack in the centre of the oven.
- Drain the brine from the belly and pat it dry all over. Lay skin-side down on bench.
- Peel and discard the outer four layers and upper and lower parts of the lemongrass stem, then finely chop the rest. Mix the peanuts, peanut butter, chilli, garlic, herbs and lemongrass together and spread this over the flesh-side of the belly.
- Roll up tightly and tie with string. Keep it as tight as you can.
- Line a roasting dish with baking paper (it’ll make it easier to clean). Place a cake rack in the dish then sit the belly on, seam facing down.
- Rub the skin with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the flaky salt. Roast for 1¾ hours; the skin should be lovely and golden. Turn the heat up to 240°C/fan 220°C/gas 9 and cook for another 15–20 minutes until the crackling has crackled. If it doesn’t crackle, turn the grill on medium-high and cook until it does, keeping your eye on it to prevent burning.
- Leave the belly to rest in a warm place, uncovered, for 15 minutes before removing the string and slicing the meat.
Recipes are from Eating Well Everyday by Peter Gordon, with photographs by Manja Wachsmuth. Published by Jacqui Small, and available from all good booksellers, RRP £25.