Pork Belly according to Jamie
Yes, once again, we do love Jamie. He has a way about cooking that just simplifies things tremendously. And it always comes out well. Recently we watched his series on Money-saving-meals, which is right up our alley. In the one programme he made a pork stomach and focused on the price of the cut and the meat that you get. So I decided to take him up on this. At Checkers we found pork belly for R49 per kilo. This is really cheap. We had to ask for it at the counter, as they did not pre-pack it for the customers. Afterwards I had to wonder why.
Pork belly could be tough as nails if you don’t slow-cook it. But the meat is so tender and juicy, and so versatile afterwards, you will get the cut again. What impressed me most was that there was just a little layer of fat on top, which you cut with a very sharp knife (Jamie uses a Stanley carpet knife) to get some nice crackling. We did not get much crackling, as the fat was less than half a centimetre thick. Which is perfect with me. I don’t like huge amounts of fatty oil to scoop off afterwards.
What really impressed me in the Jamie programme is where he rubbed in some freshly made bay oil and some smoked paprika, turning the whole piece of meat a lovely red colour. Smoked paprika is scarce everywhere. So I had to resort to common-or-garden-type-paprika. Sure, I may have missed out on the smoky flavour, but it still looked the same. And the taste did not report anything missing. Also, could not find fresh bay leaves (how I miss my garden), so I used rosemary instead. As rosemary is strong and pungent, I thought it a good alternative, as I don’t like that porky flavour and wanted to pre-empt any chance of it. It worked beautifully, I must say.
So, here goes:
1,5kg pork belly
1 can chick peas
2 red chillies
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used Balsamic, Jamie said red wine vinegar)
Bunch of fresh rosemary
I tabespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika (Jamie uses smoked)
2 red onions
1 sweet potato
1 jar of passata
1 can of chick-peas
How we went about it:
- I smashed half of the rosemary into olive oil with the bottom of the paprika jar (instant mortar and pestle, hah).
- I then put the paprika in and stirred it up. A nice rich red paste formed.
- Cut the top layer of fat in lines, every 1 cm. don’t cut the meat, just the fat.
- I took the paste and rubbed it into the pork belly, as deep as I could.
- Chop the sweet potato, the onions and the garlic and add to a roasting tray. Add the chillies, chopped.
- Put the pork belly on top and roast, uncovered, at 200 Celsius for 45 minutes. This renders the fat.
- Take the roasting tray out and remove the meat. Pour in the passata, fill the jar to half with water and pour in as well. Add the chick-peas. Add the vinegar.
- Put it back in the oven, covered this time, at 170 Celsius until very tender. Took us about three hours.
- Take out of the oven and remove the meat. Carefully, as it falls apart at this stage.
- Remove the oil on top with a spoon and put the meat back. Shred the rest of the rosemary and sprinkle on top.
- Grill for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the rosemary is crisped and the fat is crackling. Don’t overdo it, it will burn black!
Heidi served it on mash. Absolutely delicious!