Pork belly

Last week at The Farmer’s Market in New Ferry Galen and I bought ourselves a piece of pork belly for £5.00. It went into the freezer for the week but I took it out last night and we ate it this evening.
Coming home late on a Friday evening there wasn’t really time to do it justice with all the slow cooking it deserved but it came out okay.
I started by sharpening the old steel blade I somehow inherited from my mother and scouring a set of deep lines down a good half inch through the skin. That was all rubbed with a hand full of rock salt and left to sit for a while as I ground up the garlic and herbs.

Actually the herbs were only a good few pinches of fennel seeds mixed with some more salt and crushed to a powder in the pestle and mortar. Garlic was then added and loosened slightly with with touch of olive oil. This mixture was then rubbed into the underneath of the pork belly with my fingers as the oven was put on to its highest setting. This required some negotiation as a dish of vegetarian lasagna was warming up for the rest of the family’s tea. With some slight of hand the lasagna was extracted out of the oven for twenty minutes as the pork belly went in at a sufficiently high heat to start blistering the skin and bring on the crackling.

Once the skin had started to blister the oven was turned down (and the lasagna returned) and the pork moved onto a more benign metal plate to be finished off. Ideally it should have had another two hours in a very slow oven. Time to cook completely through with the meat falling off the bones, no burning, and a crisp crunchy skin.

We didn’t have that time and compromised with the oven turned too high and hoping for the best over an hour. Ten minutes before eating I took the pork out and put it on a serving dish covered with some foil and a tea towel. Potatoes were boiled, quartered and fried and a gravy was made with a good splash of sherry into the pan. The bones slipped away from the meat and plates were cleaned.

We were still listening to Mark Eitzel.

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