“Caramel Pork Belly with Sticky Wholegrain Rice” from “Comfort”

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I like better than a Sunday dinner that requires a few hours in the oven, which fills up the house with delicious smells. Also, this long-and-slow approach to cooking frees you up to do other things during your weekend afternoon, like finishing reading your current book or watching your favourite sports team.

This pork belly requires some serious forethought, but it’s definitely worth it. You actually have to start a day ahead of time because it needs to sit in a brine overnight before popping it into an oven for two hours. John says that the brine makes the meat more juicy when roasted, and that certainly seemed true even after all that roasting time.

The other aspect of this dish that might make some people nervous is the requirement that you make a caramel for the pork to cook in. I hate making caramel; it completely stresses me out. In this case, I wasn’t as stressed as normal because the caramel is only used as a base of the sauce. So the only thing I needed to worry about was not burning it, which I’m happy to report that I didn’t.

We– at least 3/4 of us– loved the pork belly. (The last 1/4 of the family– Tim– wasn’t as convinced at the beauty of this, but he was coming down with a bad cold, so I blame that. I’m sure he’ll like it the next time I make it.) We hoovered it up; there was nothing left by the time the dust settled. We weren’t quite as keen on the red wholegrain rice. I’m not sure why, because you’d figure that rice is rice, but we all agreed that in the future, I would just make regular white rice to go with this.

A relaxing Sunday afternoon? Achievement Unlocked.

“Caramel Pork Belly with Sticky Wholegrain Rice” from “Comfort”

“Pork Belly with Apple and Thyme Batter Pudding” from “A Year of Good Eating”

IMG_2462Nicholas (12): Pork belly! My favourite!

Tim: You would have pork belly every Sunday if we agreed to it.

Nicholas: That’s true. I would.

Maureen: What do you think of this? This pork belly is actually what Nigel served for his Christmas dinner. It’s the 25 December entry.

Nicholas: Pork belly for Christmas sounds good to me.

Maureen: While this looks good, I have to say that it doesn’t scream Christmas dinner to me.

Tim: Why?

Maureen:  When I think of Christmas dinner, I think of dozens of dishes jostling for space on the table. The pork belly is good, but there doesn’t seem to be an overabundance here. That said, it’s perfect for Sunday dinner. Roasting the potatoes within the pork belly is absolute genius.

Nicholas: I like it.

Andrew (16): Of course you do.

Maureen: I think this is good, mainly because I think pork belly is always good. But I feel as though we’ve had better.

Andrew: I don’t like the pancake thing.

Nicholas: Me neither.

Tim: What you have to do is take what you call the pancake thing, which is actually a variation on Yorkshire Pudding, and put some on your fork at the same time you have some pork on there too.

Maureen: (Following his suggestion): Oh. You’re right. It is yummy when you do that. I was unconvinced.

Nicholas: Pork Belly FTW!

To make this recipe yourself, click through this sentence to find the original recipe that was in the Observer.

“Pork Belly with Apple and Thyme Batter Pudding” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Rosemary” and “Caramelised Onion and Rosemary Bread” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALove pork belly? Want to have it for Sunday lunch? Then click through on this sentence to find the recipe reprinted in Red magazine.

Nicholas (10): Pork belly for the win!

Maureen: That’s right. You asked for this specially. Who doesn’t love pork belly, especially when you’re talking about Sunday lunch?

Andrew (14): We all love it, that’s for sure.

Tim: How did this compare to the usual Gennaro Contaldo one that you make?

Maureen: This one you marinate, and then roast for longer at a lower temperature. It also includes instructions for making gravy. I don’t think you need gravy with it.

Andrew: But the gravy is nice on the mashed potatoes.

Maureen: That’s true.

Tim: I think I like this better than our usual one.

Maureen: That’s funny, because I think I like our usual one.

Nicholas: A house divided against itself can not stand! Abraham Lincoln said that.

Maureen: Thanks, Mr. History. Now what about the bread?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Continue reading ““Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Rosemary” and “Caramelised Onion and Rosemary Bread” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen””

“Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Rosemary” and “Caramelised Onion and Rosemary Bread” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen”

“Slow-cooked Pork Belly with Radicchio” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

Tom: Oh my goodness, this smelt amazing!

Kirstin: That is the beauty of slow roasting pork, isn’t it? Last year I burnt some pork while slow roasting it, so I was super careful this year and took it out much earlier than the recipe said. I didn’t trust our oven not to burn it.

Tom: I think you could have kept it in longer as the fat might have rendered more.

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Kirstin: Good point! I shall leave it for longer next time.

Miles: Nom!

Ella: It tastes really good with the bread too.

Kirstin: Oh yes, I also had a go at making fougasse, but that’s another story…

“Slow-cooked Pork Belly with Radicchio” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

“Pork belly, Radicchio and Hazlenuts” from “Polpo”

Kirstin: I was lucky to have Tom cook this for me on Mother’s Day. I ran out of steam after cooking the cake and focaccia in the morning.

Tom: It was very easy to cook. I loved the crackling!

Kirstin: You always love the crackling! We used fewer hazelnuts than they recommended. And they went incredibly well with the simple salad and dressing.

Tom: I’m going to make this again!

Kirstin: Be my guest! I’ll definitely eat it!

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“Pork belly, Radicchio and Hazlenuts” from “Polpo”

“Slow-roasted pork belly with fennel” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

If you are interested in cooking this recipe, click here.

Ella: I’ve loved smelling this all afternoon.

Kirstin: Yes. It’s quite possible that I would cook this again, just for the wonderful smell.

Tom: What do you think made it smell so good?

Kirstin: I reckon it was the star anise. Unfortunately we didn’t have any juice left, so I will have to just make this again!

Miles: Goodie! I loved it!

“Slow-roasted pork belly with fennel” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”

Ian: This pork tastes really lovely.

Aine: It is so tender. It’s really hard to get pork that isn’t tough.

Ian: I was tortured with dry pork chops as a kid. And I wasn’t allowed to pick them up and eat them with my fingers.

Aine: Pork chops were made to eat with your fingers!

Anna: You have to gnaw at them!

Ian: Well this was lovely. No gnawing required.

Anna: That’s what happens when you cook it for 4 hours. Yum. Pork belly, crackly crackling. One of my favourite things.

Ian: Does it have any spices on it?

Anna: Nope. But it was cooked on a bed of garlic, shallots and herbs so that’s why it might taste as though it does. I have to say this was the easiest pork belly recipe I’ve ever cooked. No peeling of garlic or shallots required. Just smash them, halve them and bung it in the oven. And it’s delicious.

Aine: How did you make the gravy?

Anna: It was just the cooking juices. I forgot to put any on yours Ian.

Aine: The potatoes are lovely and creamy. They go really well with the pork.

Anna: There’s no cream in them, just chicken stock. Potatoes Boulangere….

Peter: Which is?…..

Anna: Well the Boulangerie is where you get croissants. I have no idea.

Peter: Are there any apples in them?

Anna: The sweetness comes from the onions.  I used waxy rather than floury potatoes, I don’t know if that was right. But it’s worked, hasn’t it?  The best thing about this meal, apart from the yumminess of it, was I got to nap in the garden for part of the afternoon. This is my sort of cooking!

“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”