Slow-Roasted, with Apple Gravy
Pork Belly – one piece big enough to feed 4-5 people
Cooking apples x 2, cored & peeled
Sea salt – plenty!
Freshly-ground black pepper
Some boiling water
Gravy browning powder for the gravy
- Pre-heat your oven: 220°C (or 200° if fan-assisted)
- Slice the apples into approx. 1.5cm thick slices (slice them so each slice has the hole left by the core in the middle)
- Place them in the bottom of a roasting dish (the roasting dish should not be too much bigger than the piece of pork belly, if possible)
- Feel free to cut up any bits of apple that don’t fit to fill gaps in the ‘apple lining’ of the bottom of the dish
- If the butcher hasn’t done it for you, score pork skin lengthways over the entire surface of the skin
- Season the meat side of the pork belly with sea salt and a little black pepper
- Place the pork belly, meat-side down (skin-side up) over the apples
- Pour boiling water over the pork belly skin to open the pores (you’ll see this also opens up spaces where the skin has been scored)…don’t pour too much on, but enough to end up with the apple pieces sitting in enough water to almost cover them…this will help keep the pork moist and stop the apples from burning
- Put a generous amount of salt over the skin and rub it in with your fingers, allowing some of it to go into the cuts, then add some more after you’ve rubbed it in, ensuring the entire surface of the pork skin is generously covered in salt
- Place the pork belly into the oven and roast for 30 mins
- Turn the temperature down to 150°C (130°C if fan-assisted) and roast for a further 3 hours (at least!…longer if you can!), checking from time to time to ensure there is still plenty of fluid under the pork belly and adding more water if needed
- At the end of the cooking time, remove the roasting dish from the oven and temporarily remove (carefully as it may fall apart…you’ll know it’s really juicy if it does!) the pork belly so that you can take all the juices and apples (that should now have turned to mush in the juices) and place these into a pan, then return the pork belly to the roasting dish so that it stays warm while it rests for 10 mins or so
- Place the pan containing the juices and apples over a high heat on the hob – use a potato masher or whisk to break up any pieces of apple that are still intact
- Bring to the boil
- In a cup or shaker, mix together some cold water and 1-2 dessert spoons of gravy browning powder
- Turn down the heat on the juices & apples, pour in the water & gravy browning powder mixture, stirring continuously in order to avoid lumps. Add extra boiling water if the mixture becomes too thick. It helps to use a manual whisk to ensure all the juices – including the fat – mix together into a gravy.
Serve with your choice of potatoes & vegetables and of course lashings of apple sauce.
Mmmmmmmmm – Gloriously Good!