The post where we shared our attempt at the slow roasted pork shoulder from Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook Cook With Jamie (thank you again Rose - Paul has made some incredible meals with your gift!) has been my most googled post of late. Well, now that this is up the hits should just go through the roof because it is another slow-roasted pork recipe. Based upon my site counter I can only assume that slow-roasted pork is all the rage in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Welcome to the blog folks.
Pork belly... for years the forgotten part of the pig, it is now making regular appearances on menus; along with lamb shanks and shin of beef, it is beginning to upstage the old faithfuls of sun-dried tomato and rocket. Or at least it is right up there with them. And rightly so, because slow-cooked pork belly is delicious: the crunchy crackling and the meltingly tender meat are a winning combination.
Jamie Oliver's recipe for the pork is fairly standard: rub it in fennel salt and roast it briefly in a hot oven to set the crackling off, then turn the oven right down and cook it slowly to tenderize the meat. But Jamie's recipe takes the fennel theme further: the pork is cooked on top of fennel bulbs tossed in thyme, olive oil and garlic. After an hour, add a bottle of white wine to the tray. The wine and the garlic, thyme and fennel make for a delicious sauce, which flavours the meat as it cooks. The meat emerges beautifully tender, the crackling sublime and the 'gravy' a winey, garlicky jus.
Jamie Oliver's Slow-roasted Pork Belly with Braised Fennel
1 4 - 5 lb pork belly
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
freshly ground black pepper
4 bulbs of fennel, cut into sixths, herby tops removed and reserved
a small bunch of thyme, leaves removed
5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 750 ml bottle of wine
Preheat the oven to its maximum temperature.
Using an extremely sharp knife, score the skin of the pork belly in deep vertical lines. Try to get them as close together as possible and as parallel as possible.
Crush the fennel seeds and 1 tablespoon of sea salt until you have a fine powder. Massage this powder into the skin.
In a roasting pan toss the fresh fennel, thyme, garlic, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Place the pork belly (skin side up) on top.
Put the pan in the preheated oven. After 10 minutes turn the heat down to 325 degrees and roast the pork for a further hour.
After 1 hour at 325 degrees, remove the pan from the oven and drain off the fat. Add the white wine and stir.
Put the pan back in the oven for another hour.
Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the fennel from the pan using a slotted spoon. Keep it warm.
Put the pork back into the oven for a further hour until the skin is golden and crisp. If the wine starts to evaporate during this time, add a splash more wine, or a splash of water.
Allow the pork to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.
Carve the meat into chunks and serve with on top of the braised fennel, a splash of jus, and the reserved fennel fronds sprinkled on top.
Jamie - are you listening? You may annoy me with your splashes of this, glugs of olive oil, and knobs of butter but this was bloody excellent! Thank you, thank you, thank you!