I'm a nerd when it comes to what I love. I google and research and spend all my free (yes I lie. fine, I confess. even when I'm supposed to be studying.) time on it. It being food. And I have my cooking idols too, and like any fan girl I watch all the cooking shows they do. Everyone knows the usual famous British chefs, and I love them all too, but I recently discovered Marco Pierre White. He's the original British celebrity chef, the youngest chef at his time to be awarded 3 Michelin stars, and our favourite Gordon Ramsay was trained under him. He hwas actually quite hot, albeit 20 years ago. He still has that bad boy charisma and humour to send me gushing to disinterested friends (and sisters) hee hee hee.
Watch him talk about pigs and fat women and then watch the pleasure he takes in cooking, then come tell me I'm being a fangirl. Anyway, that second video practically made me salivate and I knew I had to go roast a pork belly.
There are many different tips out there on getting the perfect roast pork belly with crispy crackling. I'm going to try them all out, not all at a go duh, but definitely a to-do thing, along with testing out the different velveting methods for perfect Chinese stir-fry meat, so keep checking back ;)
For now, I followed Marco Pierre White's recipe, but had to make changes to the roasting times and temperatures, and the glaze because people have commented it's too sweet and really quite unnecessary. i.e. What I really got out of his recipe are his tips for really crispy crackling for a roast pork, like rubbing oil over the scored skin first. A little disappointed in my new favourite chef ):
Crispy Honey Roast Pork Belly with Onions
300g pork belly, skin-on (originally 1 kg, but, I'm not feeding a whole family here.)
generous sprinkling of sea salt, black pepper
clarified butter (or you could use oil. don't use sunflower like he said.)
2 small brown onions, halved, skin-on
2 bay leaves
sage leaves (which I didn't have)
For the glaze
1 tsp coriander seeds
(2 star anise, which I didn't have)
1 tbsp honey (his recommended amount is really too much)
80 ml of water
1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees celsius.
2. Score pork belly skin (my butcher did it for me!). Rub the clarified butter or oil over the pork belly skin.
3. Pour some cold water into a roasting tray, then place the pork belly on a roasting rack over the water. Roast for 2hours at the bottom rack of the oven.
(My crackling didn't become crispy, so I turned the heat up real high to 220 degrees celsius for an extra 20-30 min.)
4. Meanwhile, bring the ingredients for the glaze to a boil and let it simmer and reduce till you get a syrupy consistency.
5. When the pork belly is done, leave it aside to rest in a warm place (It's important to let all roasts rest. It makes all the difference really. This allows the juices to return to the meat. Some chefs even recommend letting it rest for the same amount of time the meat cooks! hmmm.)
6. Over medium high heat, melt some butter and fry the halved onions, cut side down. A few minutes later, add the bay leaves, just to brown slightly, before transferring to an oven for about 25 min.
7. Boil to reduce the tray of water (plus collected porky juices/fat) by about a third, till you get a nice gravy sauce.
7. To serve, glaze the crispy skin with the honey reduction. Cut the pork belly into thick generous slices, arrange the roasted onions around it, and drizzle the meat juice gravy over.
Such a rich roast would go really well this a sharp and sweet Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, and if you don't want to do the honey glaze plus gravy, I think a Celeriac and Mustard Sauce would be brilliant too.
Crispy skin, juicy meat, with the flavour and richness of the fat running through the pork, and then that caramel sweetness of the onions and honey. Salivate.
Crack, cut, crunch!