I adore this inexpensive cut of pork and I like to serve it very simply. At first glance it might look rather fatty but the majority of the fat gets cooked off leaving a wonderfully succulent piece of meat. I like to have a little hot Pickapeppa sauce on the side.
- 1.5 kg pork belly, rind removed
- 1 tbsp dry jerk seasoning (see Note)
- 300 ml dry cider
- 475 ml chicken stock
- 1 onion, sliced into 1cm rings
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Pickapeppa or other hot sauce, to serve (see Note)
Pea and potato mash-up
- 675 gm new potatoes, scraped or scrubbed
- 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 225 gm freshly shelled peas
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. To prepare the pork you’ll need a heavy-based frying pan. Rub the pork belly all over with the jerk seasoning and add to the pan, fat side down. Cook for a few minutes until golden, then quickly sear on all sides to seal.Remove from the heat and leave to rest for about 5 minutes.
Pour the cider into a large jug with the chicken stock. Place the onion rings in a roasting tin and scatter with the garlic and thyme. Lay the rested pork belly on top and pour the cider mixture around the meat. Season to taste. Cover with foil and then braise for 2½-3 hours until the pork is tender and completely soft. Remove foil.
Increase the heat of the oven to 220°C/ 425°F / Gas 7. Return the jerk pork belly to the oven and roast for another 20-25 minutes until lightly crispy and golden brown. Leave to rest.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until tender, then drain well. Tip the cooked potatoes into a large bowl, and using the back of a fork, gently crush each potato until it just splits and then drizzle over the olive oil. Season and then mix carefully until all the oil has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, cook the peas in a separate pan of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until tender. Fold through the crushed potatoes, then season to taste. Arrange on plates with slices of jerk pork belly. Serve at once with some hot pepper sauce if you like.
• Jerk seasoning is available from specialty retailers and some supermarkets. Pickappeppa is a Jamaican-made hot sauce available from selected specialty retailers.