Crispy Roast Pork Belly with Salty Caramelised Apples

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time120 mins
  • DifficultyMedium
1.5kg pork belly with the skin/rind on
20ml toasted cumin seeds
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
Olive oil for roasting

For the Salty Caramelized Apple Slices:

4 pink lady apples
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
Malden salt to taste

For the Apple Honey Soy Sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 whole star anise (optional)
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup clear apple juice
1/4 cup runny honey
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Score the rind covering the pork, either into strips or a diamond pattern. Or better still get your butcher to do it for you. Make sure you don't cut into the flesh.

3. Salt the rind lightly and let it stand for 25 minutes, the salt will release moisture in the skin, giving a crispy crunchy cracking, dab the moisture off rind with paper towel.

4. Now season the underside of the pork belly with salt, pepper and cumin. Rub it in well into all the nooks and crannies.

5. Rub the rind with a little oil and a light sprinkling of salt. Don’t put and spices on the rid because they will burn.

6. Place the meat in a preheated oven at 200°C and roast for 20 minutes.

7. Turn the heat down 180°C and cook for about 1¼ hours or till the meat is soft and succulent. (Approximately 50 minutes per 1kg)

8. Remove the pork from the oven, and if the cracking is not bubbling, blistered and crisp remove it with a little little fat attached in one layer.

9. Return to the oven and roast till it is crispy. Keep the meat covered with foil to rest and keep the heat in.

For the Apple Honey Soy Sauce:

1. Drain the fat and keep the pan juices to make the sauce by deglazing with 1/2 cup of water.

2. Heat the oil in a sauce-pan and gently fry the ginger, garlic and star anise for a minute or so, keep stirring as it cooks so that it doesn't burn.

3. Add the zest and apple juice, the honey and soy and sweet chilli sauce, the deglazed pan juices and the vinegar.

4. Cook this down gently to a runny glaze, stir in the coriander and remove from the heat.

5. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning and add more soy sauce if you wish.

For the Caramelised Apple Slices:

1. Trim the top and base of each apple. Slice each apple in half horizontally.

2. Heat the butter in a large heavy based frying pan.

3. Add the apples and sprinkle with sugar.

4. Shake the pan gently and let the sugar melt.

5. Cook the apples gently till they are golden on one side, turn and cook for 1 minute.

6. Sprinkle with maldon salt and remove from the heat.

For plating: Carve the pork into thin slices. Lay on a platter. Spoon over the sauce. Serve with salty caramelised apples, steamed green beans and roasted new potatoes.

Tip: Chill the pork belly before scoring the skin. It is easier to cut when it's cold. Always use a sharp knife. Always rest your meat before carving it, because the heat causes the meat fibres to tense. Resting allows the juices to redistribute themselves as the fibres relax.

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