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?”)
- 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
- 3 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- Pinch salt
- 30 ml pomegranate molasses
- 2 lb boneless pork belly
- Olive oil
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 100 ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp thickened cream
- Salt to taste
- Mixture of salad greens to serve 4
- Thinly-sliced pears, skin on
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.