Bachelorhood gives me the opportunity to try cooking some foods that I wouldn’t get the chance to with the whole family in town. The kids and Mrs. NH are in Texas and I figure they’re eating well so why shouldn’t I? So when I saw a kilo of pork belly at the Tesco Express last week, I grabbed it.
Pork belly is not something I’ve ever attempted to cook. I’ve eaten it several times out at restaurants and always loved it. It’s fatty, flavorful and probably isn’t very good for you – which makes it just a little more fun to eat, right? So after I had the belly in my possession, I had to get a recipe. I asked Scamp if he had a recipe – I thought this would be a slam dunk. He’s roasted, cured and smoked just about every mammal and fish known to Kansas and beyond and I figured pork belly would be an easy ask. Not so.
So I went out searching for a recipe on the web. I found this one on Jules Food which is a less fussy, slight variation on a recipe from Jamie Oliver. It’s this simple: Season your belly with salt and pepper, put it on a bed of sliced onions, blast it for 30 minutes on 450, then lower oven to 350 for 2 hours. Drool, drool, drool.
The belly came out moist and the skin was all “cracklings” in the best sense of the word. Unbeknownst to me, the belly I picked up actually had the very tips of rib bones in it and the flavor of the meat around the bones was the most delicious of all. I plated it up alongside some Parmesan-roasted broccoli and olive oil quinoa and a glass of punchy Austrian Blauer Zweigelt. It was really, really delicious. However, those that are looking to try it should know that a flavorful red wine is recommended to cut through the richness of the meat. And oh, the meat. Fork tender and juicy without being oily. The added bonus at the bottom of the pan were the confitted onions that had cooked to sweet perfection.
Little NH loves bacon and I told her about this recipe. She said she wanted me to save her some. Not a chance. A couple of nights later I made pork belly tacos on corn tortillas with a generous dash of SaSo finishing sauce. No, Little NH won’t get a bite of this batch but if I ever run across a belly again, Katy bar the door!