Roast Belly Pork with Easy Spice Rub – Farmer’s Market Wednesday

smoked paprikaIt was pretty hard to feel inspired at the market this morning, simply because it was just pouring down with rain again. So, even though I have a couple of pork meals prepared for this week, I didn’t hang about looking to see what looked great today, or seek inspiration in  the abundance of fresh ingredients.  I just ran over to the first stall that I knew sold good meat and I just bought the first cut my eyes rested upon. Happily, I have the rest of the ingredients in my cupboard, but there isn’t anything that can’t be found in a quick trip to Sainsburys.

I suppose if I were to define this dish as anything I would say, chinesey. However, given the smoked paprika, I can’t say its a particularly authentic recipe. Never mind, it’s really delicious anyway. The thing with belly pork, is that you need to flavour it, probably, and you need to be patient and cook it slowly. This means not falling asleep in front of the telly with your child if you want dinner on the table at a sensible time, unlike me. Slow roasting will bring out the best in this cheap cut of meat – cook it too fast and the fat won’t melt into the flesh sufficiently and you’ll have a tough, very fatty piece of meat. I always buy far more of this cut than I need, as I love it cold too. This recipe is adapted from a recipe book called The Best, to accompany the BBC series of the same name. Serves umm.. 3?

  • 1.5 kilo piece of belly pork, skin scored  by your butcher
  • 3 tsps salt
  • 1.5 tsps smoked paprika
  • 3 tsps chinese 5 spice powder

chinese barbecue ork pre oven

Boil a kettle full of water, and on a rack over a roasting tin, pour it over your pork, concentrating on the skin. Leave to drain off the water for a few minutes while you mix together the rest of the ingredients. If the pork still feels wet when you’ve done this, dry it off with a bit of kitchen towel. Then, rub the spice mix into the pork evenly all over, not forgetting the sides of the joint. Put in the oven at gas 8 and cook for 20 minutes, turn down to gas 2-3 and cook for another 3 hours. If the crackling is not all you hoped for at the end of the cooking time, cover the joint with foil and whack the oven up to gas 7 for 15 minutes and that should help. Remove from the roasting tin, and put the pork somewhere warm to rest . Skim the excess fat from the pan and then add:

  • 20ml soy sauce
  • 15ml rice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp oriental chilli oil
  • coooked chinese barbecue pork

Swish them together along with the juices and put the pork back into the pan with the soy, vinegar and chilli oil and cover. When pork has rested for at least 10 minutes in total, carve into thin slices and serve over rice, pouring the juices over.

Pork with Cheese, Sage & Apple

applesI try not to plan ahead too often what I’m going to have on a Wednesday night. I’m lucky enough to work five minutes away from a weekly farmer’s market, and although I usually can’t get there until its on the brink of closing for the day due to the hours I work, I usually manage to pick up some special stuff.  Today there were lots of apples around, and some pretty delicious free range pork. I wish I could shop for more meals there, but I just can’t get too much stuff home by myself.

Some flavour marriages, are made in heaven. This menage a quatre, likewise. Everything goes with everything else here in a lovely crunch, melt in the mouth kind of way. I noticed tonight, that I’ve been making a lot of things with breadcrumbs lately, so perhaps its rather lucky that my food processor broke down tonight while I was making them. In truth though, this isn’t horribly unhealthy. Cut the fat off the pork and be sure to leave the apple and the cooked pork to rest on a piece of kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. Serve with a salad. Serves 2 Greedies.

pork with sage

  • 2 large pork chops or pork steaks. Free range, please.
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten
  • 50g gruyere cheese, grated finely (you could use parmesan, alternatively)
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 4 sage leaves, very finely chopped
  • oil, preferably groundnut, for frying
  • butter
  • 1 apple, sliced into 1cm slices, core removed
  • salt and pepper

Firstly, get a rolling pin or, if you have one, a meat tenderiser and flatten out the pork chops until they’re no more than about a centimetre thick. go careful because you want them as even as you can and no holes, so while its great to be firm, don’t go mad. Mix the sage leaves, salt and pepper and breadcrumbs on one large plate, pour the beaten egg onto another and on a third, evenly scatter your grated cheese. Then, one at a time, press each side of your pork firmly into the cheese, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs in that order. Leave aside to dry out for up to a couple of hours.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and, over a medium-low heat cook the pork chops. This will take 15 or so minutes. Meanwhile, add a little more oil and butter to a smaller pan and put in your apple slices. Cook these over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until they are brown and softer, but not falling apart. Serve as described with a lemony dressing with your salad.