- 1 kg - pork belly
- - salt
- 30ml - coarsely ground coriander and fennel seeds
- 3 - bay leaves
- 4-6 - large garlic cloves
- - a few sprigs of sage
- - APPLE SAUCE
- 4-6 - apples, depending on size
- 60-125ml - caster sugar
- 30-45ml - butter
- 15ml - fresh lemon juice
- - cinnamon
• Make sure you buy a quality cut from a reputable butcher. The crackling will be crisper if you score the fat with 3mm incisions at 10mm intervals. Try to charm your butcher into doing this for you – it’s hard work!
• You can also shape a pork belly into a compact roll with a filling and bind it with kitchen twine, but remember that the fat layer won’t crisp all over.
1 Preheat the oven to 140°C. Score the pork fat with a sharp knife (see roasting tips). Rub well with salt, making sure the salt gets into all the incisions. Refrigerate the pork belly uncovered for at least 30 minutes; the salt dries out the fat and ensures a more crispy end result.
2 Arrange the bay leaves, garlic and sage leaves in a roasting pan and put the meat on top. Pour about 1cm of water in the pan and roast uncovered in the oven for about 3 hours.
3 Meanwhile, make the apple sauce Cut the apples into quarters and remove the seeds. Place the apples, together with 125ml water, in a saucepan over moderate heat. Put the lid on and simmer until the apples are soft. Mash the apples slightly and stir in the castor sugar, butter and lemon juice. You can also add a little cinnamon if you want.
4 Increase the oven temperature to 220°C and roast the pork for a further 20-30 minutes or until the fat is crispy. Remove from the oven and rest for about 15 minutes before carving the meat.
Know your cut: Pork belly
A favourite amongst foodies and chefs, pork belly with crispy crackling needs very little explanation. The belly has some bones and cartilage attached to the underside of it, which makes carving or slicing it more difficult than working with a piece of boneless belly.
Tip Ask the butchery staff for boneless belly with the skin scored in straight lines (this makes it easier to cut afterwards when serving