Crispiest Pork Belly Ever … Seriously!

Insanely Crispy Pork Belly with (S)Mashed Roast Potato and Chimichurri Brussel Sprouts

 

Pork belly, although popular in restaurants, is very often avoided when folks plan their evening meals at home. In fact, I have known even the most enthusiastic pork lovers to skip this cut, mostly because previous attempts at roasting it, has rendered the skin tough or chewy, instead of crispy and delicate.

Here, I will show you a simple method to achieve this. You do not need any special skills. All you need to do is follow the steps carefully and … KEEP THAT SKIN DRY!

Trust me, it will absolutely be worth it. I know it has a higher fat content that other cuts, but fat = flavour, and everyone should treat themselves occasionally. Although I wouldn’t call this an “everyday” kinda meal, having this in your arsenal means you will never fail to impress on those special occasions. Just use your favourite marinade or rub to change up the flavours.

I love cooking seasonally, and during these chilly months, everyone wants that comfort of home cooking. Therefore, I have decided to accompany this crispy, mustardy, pork belly, with possibly the easiest, most comforting, potato mash you could possibly want. Man, I love carbs!

My second accompaniment may take some convincing. I know, I know… possible the least popular vegetable, I honestly believe that the humble brussel sprout has a bad, and (in my opinion) undeserved, reputation. This fragrant, zesty, dish, pairs so perfectly with the rich pork and buttery potatoes, I think I may have a fighting chance in changing non-believers’ opinions.

Wine Pairing:

I have chosen to pair this meal with the Wildehurst Red, a natural blend from the Swartland.

(57% Shiraz, 27% Mourvèdre, 11% Viognier, 5% Cinsault)

Although venison would be the most common pairing with this style of wine, the robust flavours of the roast pork and brussel sprouts stand up to the classic shiraz characteristics. And because pork loves nothing more than viognier, it made my choice that much easier.

 

Insanely Crispy Pork Belly

Ingredients:

1kg Boneless Pork Belly

1tbsp White Vinegar

1 cup Course Salt

Marinade

1 Cloves Garlic

2 tbsp Orange/Naartjie Juice

½ tbsp Orange/Naartjie Zest

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

2 tsp Wholegrain Mustard

¼ tsp Chilli Flakes

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds

¼ tsp Salt

       

Method:
  • Using a sharp skewer/knife, poke small holes all over the skin of the pork belly, making sure not to stab too deep. Just pierce the skin.
  • Combine the marinade ingredients and cover the underside of the meat, making sure not to let it come into contact with the skin.
  • Place, skin side up, in a dish, and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12-24 hours. Be sure to wipe off any marinade that may have touched the skin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  • Remove the pork belly from the fridge, and box it in with a piece of foil, leaving only the skin exposed, and a 1cm lip to hold in the salt.
  • Place on a roasting tray. Brush skin with vinegar and evenly spread the course salt over the surface.
  • Roast for 1 hour.
  • Fold down the foil sides and remove all the salt. The skin will appear rubbery.
  • Turn on the oven grill.
  • Return the pork to the oven and grill for 20-25 minutes until the skin is golden and crisp.

 

 

Easiest (S)Mashed Roast Potatoes Ever

Ingredients:

Potatoes

Butter or Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Alternate flavours:

You can basically add almost anything to these potatoes to make something a little different. Add roasted garlic, mustard, wasabi, pesto, etc for something a little special.

Method:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°
  • Place the potatoes in an oven proof dish and bake for 1 hour. (that’s correct…just the potatoes. No fat, no seasoning. Just the whole potatoes.
  • After an hour the potatoes should be soft on the inside, but the skin should be pretty hard and dry.
  • Cut open and scoop out all the flesh.
  • Mash them with butter/oil, salt and pepper. I personally like mine with some lumpy bits, so I just use a fork.

 

Roast Brussel Sprouts with Chimichurri

Ingredients:

Brussel Sprouts

1 tsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Chimichurri Sauce

¼ cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

¼ cup Chopped Fresh Coriander

1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Oreganum (¾ tsp dried oreganum)

1 Garlic Clove, Chopped

½ cup Olive Oil

3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 Chopped Chilli (optional)

½ tsp Salt

Method:
  • Pre-heat oven to 200°
  • Halve the brussel sprouts, and coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Spread evenly on an oven tray and roast for 20min, or until they begin to change colour.
  • For the chimichurri, combine all the ingredients, and check the seasoning.
  • Remove the sprouts from the oven and drizzle with your chimichurri.
  • Serve hot or cold.

 

 

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