For years, making a roast has been one of my greatest cooking phobias. It’s only recently that I’ve found it a pleasurable challenge. Some tips – if you want killer crackling, you can’t go past a Stanley knife for scoring like a boss!
Everything else is actually easy – you just need a couple of hours of cooking time to get that succulent, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly. If you’re surprised by the use of cardamom and anise in the gravy, it’s a classic pairing favoured for complementing the richness of this cut. And for those of you looking forlornly at that longish list of vegetables; blanching a few bunches of broccolini might be a better option for you!
1kg pork belly
Salt & black pepper
2 tsp fennel seeds
4 beetroot, peeled, quartered
4 medium potatoes, par boiled, quartered
¼ red cabbage, diced 3cm
8 Brussels sprouts, halved
4 carrots, halved lengthways
2 red or brown onions, peeled, cut into wedges
4 parsnips, halved
Salt & pepper
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 star anise pods, bashed lightly
4 cardamom pods, bashed lightly
1-2 tsp flour, mixed with a few tablespoons of water
2 tsp seeded mustard
1-2 tsp cider vinegar OR to taste
Salt, pepper & sugar for balancing
Preheat oven to 180ºC (fan forced).
Score lines across the pork skin and fat 5mm apart but without penetrating the flesh.
Pat dry with paper towel and brush with olive oil. Rub with a generous amount of salt, then the pepper and fennel seeds making sure you get right into the grooves of the score lines.
Pop the pork on the trivet and roast for 1½ hours.
Remove pork belly from the oven and lift the trivet of pork out of the roasting tray. Add the vegetables to the tray and season with salt and pepper, toss well to coat in the dripping. Return the pork back to the trivet and roast for another 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the pork is fall-apart tender and vegetables are cooked through.
Transfer the pork and vegetables to a serving dish.
If there’s fat in the roasting tray pour it away, then add the chicken stock, bay leaf, star anise and cardamom.
Place on the stove over a medium heat to lift roasting juices, scraping off all the caramelised fragments with a wooden spoon. Allow to simmer for a moment, allowing the spices to infuse, then pass all of it through a sieve into a small saucepan to remove the spices.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour and water mixture with the mustard and vinegar. Add this to the saucepan of gravy and simmer until slightly thickened.
Taste and balance with cider vinegar, salt, pepper and even a pinch of sugar, if required.
Serve with the pork belly and vegetables immediately.
Here are some things you’ll need to recreate Poh’s Roast Pork Belly recipe: