Pork belly in chilli & fennel with mustard mash (#19)

Pork belly is genuinely the dream. Get that belly in my belly. Not only is pork belly, with its slightly fatty meatiness, quite simply the food of the gods, but like all roast meat it requires remarkably little attention even if it does demand time.

I went to the butcher’s counter at Waitrose for this, partially because packaged pork belly slices are harder to find than you might imagine. I was actually quite surprised about how cheap it was: 600g for just over £4 I think.

Thanks to Nigellissima for this cracker.

Good things: for what sounds like an incredible indulgence, it’s remarkably not that involving and not stupidly expensive. Just have some patience.

Bad things: I’m not going to cook this after a day’s work. I wouldn’t eat until 8.30.

Ingredients (dinner for 2):

  • 30ml garlic oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 600-700g of belly pork slices 
    Potatoes:
  • 500-600g of King Edward Potatoes
  • 15g-20g unsalted butter
  • small amount of milk
  • heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Required:

  • shallow dish
  • roasting tin
  • tongs
  • large saucepan (for potatoes)
  • colander (for potatoes)
  • a masher (for potatoes)

Cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C
  2. Put the garlic oil, fennel seeds, dried chilli flakes and salt flakes in the shall dish and stir it to mix.
  3. Rub each of the pork belly slices (both sides!) into the garlic oil mix and arrange them in a nice ‘line of dominoes’, as Nigella says. Make sure the rind is on the uppermost side, as that’s what you want to cook the most.
  4. Whack in the oven for 1 hour and 50 mins, and spin the tin around halfway through cooking.
    The potatoes:
  5. Peel the potatoes (make sure they’re roughly equal sized) and put in the large saucepan and make sure they’re covered in water. Put the butter in a mug and half-cover with milk, set aside.
  6. Once you’ve spun the pork belly slices around you can start to think about the tatties. The mash will take around 30 mins to do so consider that for your start time.
  7. Bring the potatoes to boil, which takes 7-9 mins, and then keep on the hob for up to 20 mins.
  8. Take the potatoes off the heat and drain with a colander, and let them dry for a moment or two back in the saucepan. Then have a good initial mash to get most of the lumps out.
  9. Heat the butter and the milk in a microwave for 30 secs-1min until melted together. Add the heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard and combine. Add this lovely mustardy liquid in parts to the potato and continue mashing until lovely and smooth.
  10. Take the pork belly out of the oven. Put the mustard mash on the plates. Use the tongs to place the pork belly slices on top of the mash. The prok would have let out a lot of oil, so be careful!

Reflections

I’m not gonna lie, I had 2 portions to myself. Who’s gonna stop me?

I served with broccoli, but it was a last minute decision. I think a fantastic addition would have been roast parsnips or carrots. Also, the fat let off from the pork belly would have been great to go into a gravy (just combine with gravy granules and bung in the microwave to combine), however I was fresh out and thought I’d enjoy the fennel and chilli taste from the pork on its own this time.

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