Eating 'Natural' has opened a new world of meat for me. No longer scared of fat content, I can enjoy pork belly and the delicious crackling ... guilt free!!! This is a originally a Jamie Oliver recipe, adapted slightly but is by far the best pork belly recipe I have tried.

 

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Ingredients
  • 1.5kg pork belly
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the gravy:
  • 2 red onions halved
  • 2 carrots, peeled and halved length ways
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped in half
  • 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
  • A small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 600ml water or stock
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to full whack, it needs to be at least 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
  2. Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side upwards.
  3. With a small sharp knife make scores about 1 centimeter apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat (you can always ask the butcher to do this).
  4. Rub salt right into all the scores you’ve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you have to. Brush any excess salt off the surface of the skin and turn it over.
  5. Season the underside of the meat with a little more salt and a little black pepper.
  6. Place your pork, skin side-up, in a roasting tray big enough to hold the pork and the vegetables, and place in the hot oven.

  7. Roast for about half an hour until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling.
  8. Turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and roast for another hour.

  9. Take out of the oven and carefully transfer the pork to a chopping board.
  10. Add all the vegies, garlic and thyme to the roasting dish and stir them into the fat.
  11. Place the pork on top of everything and put the tray back in the oven.
  12. Roast for another 1 1/2 hours. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender.
  13. Remove from oven and carefully transfer the meat to a serving dish, cover with tin foil and leave to rest while you make your gravy.

  14. If you want super crackly crackling, leave the meat in the fridge for a day with the skin uncovered (helps it to dry out)
Gravy:
  1. Put water or stock into large pot place a sieve over the pot.
  2. Scrape roasting juices and vegetables into the sieve, make sure you get all the good bits. 
  3. Push all the vegies through the sieve into the stock - get as much as you can through the sieve.
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer until reduced slightly and thick and delicious. 
  5. Whisk through 50g butter (optional but makes it super delicious)
  6. Add a little more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve the pork with the crackling, gravy, some buttered green beans and roast seasonal vegies.
Variation:
I made an asian style pork belly by rubbing the bottom on the pork with chopped garlic, ginger, chili and coriander stems.
Placing it in the roasting dish with the leftover cooking juices that I had saved from my spiced pork fingers (or use vegetable stock)
Use the pan juices to make gravy as above
Serve with stir-fried asian style vegies:
Chopped garlic and ginger
Broccoli
Capsicum
Mushroom
Red Cabbage
Chili
Peeled carrot
Peeled zuccini