“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.

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“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”

“Pork Cooked in Milk” and “Poor Man’s Potatoes” from “The Moro Cookbook”

IMG_6267Or, if you’d like it in the Spanish, “Lomo con Leche” and “Patatas a lo Pobre”

Maureen: So what do you think?

Tim: I like the potatoes.

Maureen: You should. You asked for them and they were a total faff to make.  What about the pork?

Nicholas (11): A big thumbs up for me.

Maureen: I think you would say that of any roast pork, frankly, since you ask for porcetta every Sunday.

Nicholas: That might be true.

Andrew (15): Me gusta!

Maureen: I’m glad you approve. I think it’s fine, but it’s not my favourite roast pork.

Tim: It’s sort of bland.

Maureen: I know! Which as a total surprise because it smelled absolutely delicious when I was making it. I was completely intrigued by the method– cooking the pork in milk rather than roasting it– but Mike from Dring’s assured me this method, while strange, really did work. The method worked, but the taste is a bit disappointing.

Tim: Would you make it again?

Maureen: The potatoes I’d make again, definitely. The pork I probably wouldn’t. While I can appreciate the novelty factor of the way I cooked it, I just don’t think it’s as good as some of the other roast pork that I make.

If you’re curious about the pork cooked in milk and want to give it a try, the Demon Cook reposted it on her blog. You can find it by clicking through these sentences.

“Pork Cooked in Milk” and “Poor Man’s Potatoes” from “The Moro Cookbook”