I don’t actually cook pork belly myself, but very occasionally (when I’m feeling particularly gluttonous) I will buy a slab when it’s my husband’s turn to cook and casually leave this recipe open on the work surface. We have several cookbooks with recipes for pork belly and Ben always forgets which one to use, but I ALWAYS remember that this one from Rick Stein’s ‘Food Heroes’ is the best.
The photo above will either make you salivate or gag depending on your appetite for crispy meat fat. I just love it and when I do a regular roast pork joint there is never enough crackling to satisfy me (especially now I have to share it with my children). In contrast there is so much crispy fat on a piece of pork belly that I’m in culinary heaven. Having said this, by the time I’d eaten half of everything you see in the photo above I was ready to go on a detox and eat vegetables and muesli for a week to clear out my arteries.
Crisp Chinese roast pork (from Rick Stein’s ‘Food Heroes’)
Serves 4-6 (or 2 if you’re a real glutton like me)
- A large slab of pork belly with the rind still on (roughly 1.5kg)
- 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt, preferably Maldon
- 2 teaspoons of five spice powder (if you want to grind your own see my post ‘What spices make up Chinese five spice?’)
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
Spike the skin of the pork with a fine skewer as many times as you can, going through the fat but not the flesh.
Pour a kettle of boiling water over the skin, leave it to drain and then pat dry with kitchen towel.
Heat a dry frying pan over a high heat, add the two types of peppercorns and shake them in the pan for a few seconds until fragrant. Put them in a spice grinder, pestle and mortar or mini food processor and grind to a fine powder. Tip them into a bowl with the salt, five spice and sugar.
Turn the pork flesh side up on a tray and rub the spice mixture into the meat. Cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
Heat the oven to 200oC.
Turn the pork skin side up and place it on a roasting rack resting above a roasting tin half full of water.
Roast the pork for 15 minutes, then lower the oven to 180oC and cook for a further 2 hours, checking periodically and topping up the water in the tin if necessary.
Increase the oven temperature to 230oC and cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cook slightly before carving. We like to carve it into large slices, although Rick recommends small squares.
Serve with steamed rice and greens (if you don’t know how to cook rice by now see my post Nice Rice).