The variety of kale we have been growing in the garden at Kew, called Westland Winter, has absolutely amazing flavour. I’ve cooked it very quickly and simply to retain its powerhouse of nutrients; it’s a perfect partner to the succulent, gently spiced pork belly.
For the pork belly
- 70 g (2½ oz) acacia or manuka honey
- 50 g (1¾ oz) tomato sauce (ketchup)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 10 g piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
- ¼ French shallot, finely chopped
- 75 g (2½ oz) quince (about ¼ large quince), peeled and cut into 2 cm (¾ in) wedges
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork belly, all bones removed, skin removed or scored
For the kale
- 20 g (¾ oz) butter
- pinch of sea salt
- 280 g (9¾ oz) westland winter or red curled kale leaves
- 8 nero di toscana kale leaves
- 150 g (5½ oz) quince purée
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
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 120°C (100°C fan-forced/Gas ½).
For the pork belly, in a medium lidded casserole, mix all the ingredients except the pork. Add the belly and baste with the sauce. Bake for 3 hours, basting with the sauce every 20 minutes. When cooked, the pork will be firm but offer a little resistance when a knife is inserted. Lift the pork out of the casserole and set aside to rest, loosely covered with foil.
Strain the cooking juices into a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the volume of liquid by half so it thickly coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and reserve.
For the kale, in a large lidded saucepan, mix together 100 ml (3½ fl oz) water, the butter and salt, and bring to the boil. Add both varieties of kale and cook, covered with a lid, for 3-4 minutes, until barely cooked but still retaining a bit of bite and their wonderful colour. Drain well.
To serve, spread a spoonful of the quince purée in the centre of each plate. Add the kale, then slice the pork belly and divide between the plates. Finish with a little more purée and scatter over the sesame seeds.