Roast pork belly and jus
1. Let’s start this recipe with the roasting vegetables to create a platform for the pork and to create the base for our jus. Using a large deep baking tray place onto the hob with a drizzle of oil and turn onto a medium heat. Now add 1/2 sliced fennel, 20g sliced ginger, 1 chopped leek, 2 garlic bulbs cut in half and 4 whole star anise. Sear the vegetables until nicely caramelised.
2. Now onto the pork belly, begin by scoring the skin side of the pork belly into a cross-hatch taking care not to score too deeply. Drizzle 50ml of mirin and 50ml of sesame oil then massage into the skin. Next season both sides of the pork generously with salt, black pepper and fennel seeds and pat down the seasoning into the pork.
3. When the pork is seasoned lay flat over the roasted vegetables skin side up and deglaze the pan with 100ml of sake. Cover the baking tray with tinfoil and place into a hot oven set at 190°c. Leave the pork to cook for 2 hours and forget about it for now.
4. After 2 hours of cooking time has elapsed take out the pork from the oven and place the pork onto a fresh baking tray. Keep the baking tray of vegetables to one side for now. To flatten out the pork use another tray and place on top of the pork. Place various tins or something heavy on top then place into the fridge. Leave for 4-6 hours with the weights on top to flatten out the cooked pork belly.
5. To make a light jus place the baking tray with the vegetables back on to a high heat. The vegetables should be nice and aromatic by this point so begin by deglazing the baking tray with 50ml of sake. When reduced add 100ml light soy, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp sugar, 1000ml of water and 2 tbsp of chicken stock powder. Wisk in the liquid to ensure all the flavour gets nicely incorporated into the sauce and reduce the liquid by half (approx 10 mins). When ready pass the jus through a fine sieve ensuring to extract all the flavour from the vegetables. When ready adjust the seasoning of the jus then place into a fresh pan and keep for later. (Try not to reduce the sauce too much to a glace as you want to keep it quite light).
6. After 4-6 hours of pressing the pork we can now prepare to serve, remove the pork from fridge and cut into 4 equal square portions. To really crisp up the skin place the pork skin side down into a pan with a small drizzle of oil. Cook on a medium heat until crispy. When crispy flip the pork over and drizzle with a small amount of honey over the skin. When crispy and hot in the centre place to one side. Next place the jus back onto the heat to warm through.
Fennel Apple salad:
7. Last component to prepare is the salad, this should be done at the very last second. For the fennel, remove the fennel herbs and place to one side then finely slice the fennel bulb. Cut 1 Granny Smith apple into a matchstick julienne and slice the radish as thin as possible. Add all the salad components to a bowl then dress with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
8. To serve add the jus to the centre of the bowl then place the pork over the top. Add a generous amount of salad and nourish…If you really want to get after it then serve with some freshly steamed rice on the side. Hope you like this simple recipe!