Crispy Pomegranate-roasted Pork Belly

Pork Belly

I love pork belly and the crackling sensation of biting into that crispy layer of fat! For this recipe, the flesh side of the pork is seasoned with a rub of pomegranate molasses and various spices – which after baking for several hours, ‘blossoms’ into a wonderful gravy for the roast.

In order to get the crispy texture of the pork fat, you need to first coat it generously with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt- that helps to draw the moisture from the fat and get it crackling. I know I’ve used the word ‘fat’ quite a few times so far- there’s nothing wrong with fat- it’s what gives food so much flavor!

Some recipes call for slow-roasting the pork belly for many hours and then turning the heat up for the last 10 minutes to make the fat nice and crispy. However, I found that roasting it at 170 C (340 F) for two hours was enough to cook the meat to a tender stage followed up with a short blast of heat to crackle the top layer of (yes) FAT.

I’ve also included a recipe for a Pear and Walnut Salad which pairs nicely with the pork belly.

Happy Easter everyone! We’re all enjoying a real 4-day week-end here in Australia- everyone gets off both Good Friday and Easter Monday as a holiday- most stores are genuinely closed! (I just spoke with my daughter in New York and she said “What holidays?”)

Pork Belly

Crispy Pomegranate-roasted Pork Belly
Serves 4
What could be better than biting into a crispy layer of pork fat seasoned with the flavors of pomegranate molasses
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
For the Crispy Pork Belly
  1. 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  2. 3 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
  3. 2 star anise
  4. 1 cinnamon stick
  5. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  6. Pinch salt
  7. 30 ml pomegranate molasses
  8. 2 lb boneless pork belly
  9. Olive oil
  10. Salt
  11. 1 ½ cups water
For the Pear and Walnut Salad
  1. 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  2. 1 ½ tbsp cider vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp water
  4. 100 ml olive oil
  5. 2 tbsp thickened cream
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Mixture of salad greens to serve 4
  8. Walnuts
  9. Thinly-sliced pears, skin on
For the Pork Belly
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 C (340 F). Score the fat side of the pork belly in a criss-cross pattern with the cuts spaced ¼ inch apart. Set aside.
  2. To make the spice rub for the pork belly, add the garlic, thyme leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick, dried rosemary and salt to a mortar and pestle; grind all ingredients together. Transfer to the bowl of a blender, add the pomegranate molasses and pulse until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
  3. Rub the flesh side of the pork belly generously with the paste. Transfer the pork to a baking dish with skin side facing up. Drizzle the skin generously with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt, making sure the salt is rubbed into the cuts. Pour the water around the edge of the pork. Bake for1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is tender, then increase the temperature to 210 C (410 F). Cook for approximately 10 more minutes until the skin becomes crisp and brown. Remove from oven and let the pork rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  4. To serve, place meat on cutting board with skin facing down and slice into square pieces to serve. Drain the juices from the roasting pan and drizzle over the meat to serve.
For the Pear and Walnut Salad
  1. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, water, olive oil, cream and salt. Place the mixed salad greens in a large bowl and toss with the salad dressing. Add some chopped walnuts and thinly-sliced pears as garnish and serve.
Adapted from Shane Delia's recipe
Adapted from Shane Delia's recipe
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk and Ginger

 

Sweet Potato Soup

I belong to a Cookbook Club at my local library (do people go to libraries any more)? Every month the members meet and share a recipe from one of their favorite cookbooks: this month everyone brought along a sample of their favorite soup and the accompanying cookbook recipe. First, everyone sat around a table and talked about their soup recipe, followed by mass tastings and slurpings of the featured soups.

I was really bowled over by the Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk and Ginger that one person brought along to the group- so creamy and smooth with the underlying zing of the ginger and subtle addition of the cayenne pepper. I added some shallots and garlic to my variation of this soup in order to add more depth. I also added a bit of thick cream at the end to cut the ginger taste a bit and to take this recipe to the next level of ‘manna from heaven’. Yes, you won’t be bored with this soup!

Note: I added some chopped chiles and a few basil leaves as garnish for my soup, but those are optional.

I can’t wait until next month’s meeting, which will feature PIE recipes. I’m already thumbing through my favorite pie cookbook, Ms. American Pie by Beth Howard, to pick my next recipe (should I choose Mississippi Mud or Cherry Pie?) The only drawback to my Cookbook Club is I always wind up buying one or two new cookbooks (although I guess I should check them out from the library-  that’s what libraries are for, right?

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day!

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Ginger
Serves 4
A creamy sweet potato soup with an underlying 'zing' from the fresh ginger
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  2. 2 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  4. 1 tbsp. fresh ginger
  5. 1 can (14 oz/400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  6. 3 cups chicken stock, salt reduced
  7. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  8. salt and black pepper to taste
  9. 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  10. 3 tbsp. thickened cream
Instructions
  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, along with the chopped shallots, garlic, ginger, coconut milk and chicken stock, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes soften.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, and in batches, purée the mixture until smooth. Add the lime juice and cream and adjust the seasoning (salt, pepper, cayenne) if necessary. Garnish with several basil leaves (optional).
Notes
  1. Increase the amount of ginger and/or cayenne pepper in this recipe if you desire a more spicy taste.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/