Friday, September 01, 2006

Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork Belly

The August edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller is a celebration of it's 40th birthday. One of the feature articles is on our favourite food through those 40 years.

Surprisingly they seem to have left out some of the more tragic dishes of the past and they have come up with quite an appetising and diverse range of food. One dish in particular stood out - it's the dish of 2002. A mouth-watering, slow-roasted pork belly smothered in a paste of fresh thyme, fennel and coriander seeds.

The skin is crisp and crackly as the pork receives an initial high temperature hit in the oven before it's turned way down to allow the fat to render out and transform the meat into something succulent and obscenely tender. Slow does indeed mean slow as this will take at least 2 hours to reach perfection.

Now, can I cut you a piece?

slow roasted pork belly© by haalo




Slow-roasted Spiced Pork Belly

1-1.5 kgs pork belly, skin on and scored
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon oil

It doesn't really matter what you are cooking it's always important that you good ingredients. The pork I've chosen is Otway Pork - it's available at Hagen's Organic Meats at Prahran market.

pork belly© by haalo

One thing I learnt quite a while ago is that you should always buy female pigs - male pigs when cooked give off that unappealing smell, and I hate to say, of urine.

With the belly pork choose one with a good ratio of fat - this will disappear during the long cooking time and as they say fat = flavour. It helps to keep the meat moist and will be the difference between having a good result and a piece of leather.

Score the skin - get your butcher to do this if you don't want to.

spices in mortar© by haalo

Place the thyme, salt, fennel and coriander seeds into a mortar and grind it using the pestle (you can do this in a blender). Add the oil and continue until a paste forms.

Spread the paste onto the pork skin, making sure you get into all the score marks - use your hands to get the best result. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

spice paste© by haalo

Preheat the oven to 240°C/470°F.

Place the pork, skin side up, on a roasting dish and cook for 30 minutes or until the skin is crisp.

Lower the temperature to 170°C/340°F. Pour half a cup of water into the roasting dish and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. You should be able to easily pull the meat apart.

slow roasted pork belly© by haalo

Serve in thick slices.


55 comments:

  1. Hummm... this looks dangerously yummy!

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  2. I have to agree, this looks simply yummy. I'd love a piece!

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  3. Oh my! Well, I guess I know what I'm cooking for Father's Day lunch!

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  4. This lookds great! I just had a pig roast this past week, we did an entire 30 pound pig:
    http://jumboempanadas.blogspot.com/2006/08/and-this-little-piggy-went-wee-wee-wee.html

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  5. Looks like a fantastic recipe and pork belly holds up to just about any combination of spices you can imagine.

    I'm a big fan of making a marinade paste with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, hoisin (best friends with pork I think) and chilis, either fresh chopped or prepared paste. Combine and marinate the same as above.

    Might also try finishing it on a bbq grill with indirect heat after the initial browning.

    evan

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  6. They hardly ever make pork belly in the states, which is too bad because I love it so.

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  7. Yummy, I love pork belly! I love it when the skin is crispy! Gives out a lovely *crunch* sound.

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  8. Thanks Magic!

    Thanks Kalyn - I'll save you some next time ;)

    Hi Ellie - That will be a lovely lunch!

    Brilynn - now that is roast pork! That looks so good!

    Hi Evan and thanks for all the ideas!

    Hi Peabody - it's not as common as out cuts of pork but you will just about always find it in asian butchers

    Hi Lisa - you can't eat pork skin quietly.

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  9. Found your site by following a variety of links which started with David Lebovitz.
    Heading back to Melbourne *very* soon from the Mid East, thank you so much for the recipe and the info on another spot to hit at Prahran Market. Thoughts of things porky have been on my mind a lot lately.

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  10. Best wishes for a safe and speedy return Anon - it sounds like you might be needing some more pork recipes

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  11. Totally superb!! I'm lucky enough to live only 1 mile from a producer of succulent free range Gloucester Old Spot piggies...the tastiest sweetest pork in the world. I married the dish with some locally produced Cider and Spiced Apple pudding. As a one time resident of Perth, I do miss some of my Oz ingredients.

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  12. Hi Anon - you are very fortunate to have access to such wonderful pigs. That pudding sounds super delish too!

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  13. Would you like the recipe??

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  14. Hi Anon -Thank you, I'd love it! You can email me if you like at hellohaalo AT gmail Dot com

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  15. Hi, I cooked this in Australia at the weekend with a 3.5Kg Pork Belly.

    The rub is absolutely fantastic - the most tender, succulent piece of meat i have cooked on my BBQ.

    Try it - you will love it.

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  16. Hi Anon - that's a big pork belly.

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  17. Leela AttfieldJanuary 25, 2007

    It would help if you told us the oven temperature in gas as well as degrees centigrade and fahrenheit!

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  18. The trouble with gasmark measurements is that they do vary between cookers and if given a °C or °F you should be able to work out what that translates to from your own cookers manual. For similar reasons I don't give fan-forced conversions. If you are unsure Google is a great help.

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  19. Hi, did you put leave the pork on the rack and then put it into the roasting tray?

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  20. Hi Tuan - it goes straight on the roasting tray without the rack.

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  21. AnonymousJune 06, 2007

    I cooked this last week and it was delicious. The meat was so tender it just fell apart. All 4 plates were wiped clean. I thoroughly recommend it.

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  22. That's great Anon! So glad it was enjoyed!

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  23. Haalo, this looks incredibly yummy and I love how simple the recipe is.

    Also, this entry was perfectly seasoned with apostrophes. Good work!

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  24. This is really old and this is probably a stupid question, but you say cook it directly on the roasting tray - so with half a cup of water it will be partially submerged? I have always cooked pork belly on a rack, so I wanted to make sure that it sitting in water was indeed the method of cooking

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  25. Hi Barton - half a cup of water isn't going to partially submerge the pork at all, when displaced over the baking dish. As the pork is cooking for a long time, a lot of the fat is rendered out and the water helps stop it from burning and by the end of the cooking time the water has evaporated.

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  26. I'm amazed that you are able to get female pork meat. I know JUST what you mean with the smell and no smell.
    Do you have a pig farmer close by to deliver your special orders? I am so envious.

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  27. Hi Space Babe - generally the pork industry here has really done a lot of work on improving pork and it's very rare that you would find male pigs on offer in butchers. We're lucky that you can basically go anywhere and find female pork on offer.

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  28. In México we celebrate Mother´s day on May 10th, my daughter lives in England, she will come pretty soon to visit me and, she will cook "slow-roasted spice pork belly", to celebrate later but it looks wow!!!

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  29. Hope you enjoy it Maricela!

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  30. This sounds really great, and I'm eager to try it--I have some organically raised pork belly. One question--what do you think about cooking it ahead of time? It's been awfully hot in Washington DC lately and I don't relish having the oven on for 2+ hours before having guests show up. Could I cook it the night before and somehow get away with reheating it somehow?

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  31. Hi Mashenka - This really doesn't reheat very well but if you have something like a kettle bbq, you could cook it in that instead. That way the heat would be outside and your kitchen would be cool.

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  32. Have this recipe in the oven now, just turned the oven down to 170 and added the water. I don't think I can wait another two hours!!! Will post back how it went, this is my first crack at it...reckon (based on the smell) it may become a regular.

    Cheers
    Matt

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  33. Hi Matt - I hope you enjoy it!

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  34. Just ordered a belly from local butcher. This recipe is on the agenda for the weekend. Many thanks and I love the site and I'm into Nose to Tail eating.

    Chow On

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  35. Thanks Jay - hope you enjoy it!

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  36. What do you use to score the skin and how deep? Looks wonderful!

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  37. I used a box cutter/utility knife to score the skin - you only want to cut through the rind but not the underlying fat.

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  38. This is an absolutely fantastic recipe. Thanks for posting it. I was looking for something which included spicing, slow roasting and most importantly "pork belly" on google and tried this and will definitely do it again! So simple as well!

    I told someone at work about it and they'd cooked it within a couple of days and agree!

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  39. Great news Banksman - thanks for letting me know!

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  40. Made this last week and ready to do it agin. It was wonderful - the first fast cooking is the trick, I think, the crackling was superb!

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  41. Thanks Jackie - nothing beats good crackling

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  42. looks delicious!
    what would you recommend serving it with? rice and asian greens maybe?

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  43. Thanks Emma - I'd probably skip the rice, but greens and salads are fine. It is a rich dish so it's nice to have something a little lighter to go with it.

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  44. Hi Haalo,
    I'm going to try your recipe tomorrow night and was just wondering if your oven temperatures are for a fan forced or regular oven?

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  45. I have a very simple regular gas oven - fan forced will require an reduction on the temperatures (about 20C) and cooking time. For the initial cooking with high heat let your eyes be the guide and when the skin is crisp drop the temp to 150C and then continue with the recipe.

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  46. AnonymousMay 12, 2009

    I have cooked this many times now for friends with great success. In fact they have requested it when coming for dinner!!

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  47. Thanks Anon, now that is great sign!

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  48. Following up my earlier comment, I don't know what you think Haalo, but when I cook it I use a little more water and keep it topped up just so that the dish doesn't dry during cooking. In that way, the juices don't burn on the dish and following cooking you can de-glaze the dish using water, skim the fat and make a lovely gravy.

    I like to serve it with Mashed potato and green veg such as Cabbage. You're right what you say in one of the earlier posts - it's so rich that it needs something light with it!

    I think it could also be served in bite size pieces as an appetiser at a dinner party or as part of a buffet? Just a few thoughts which I hope people find useful.

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  49. This is a great recipe. Made it several times. My dinner guests request it now in advance. Thank you.

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  50. You all really have my mouth watering!!! I had pork belly for the first time in NY at Tom Colichios restaurant. It was out of this world and I finally found a butcher in Chicago selling this. I'm truly excited. Going to follow this recipe. Any thought on using convection? Thanks!!!

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  51. Hi Ryan - for fan forced you'll need to decrease the temperature and probably add a little more water to stop it from drying out. If you already adapt roast recipes for the fan forced just apply those changes.

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  52. Just made this in NYC. Served over pasta, collards, white beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic etc. Absolutely fantastic.

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  53. Thanks Anon - happy to hear!

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  54. Thank you so much for sharing this -- I've made it twice now, and I can't believe how something so special and tasty can be so easy. I wanted to mention an experience I had while making it -- I foolishly added cool water rather than warm/hot, and it cracked my baking dish :-(

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  55. I have tried this and going back for a second time tonight ..delicious and on here to check my ingredients . Do yourself a favour and try it ..

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