roasted pork belly with fennel seeds (cerdo al horno)rating:
We cooked this last week, and it was utterly gorgeous. Very highly recommended.
1.5kg organic or free-range pork belly in one piece, skin on and scored
2 cloves of garlic, crushed with sea salt
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
150ml fino sherry or white wine
a splash of water (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to gas 8 / 230C.
Mix the garlic with the fennel seeds, and rub over the flesh of the belly. Plac eon a large board, skin side up, and dry the skin thoroughly. Generously sprinkle with fine sea salt (about 1 tbsp) all over the scored skin. Leave for half an hour, then dust off excess salt.
Transfer the pork to a large roasting tin greased with the olive oil, and place inthe hot oven on the top shelf. It is important that the oven is really hot to start with, to blister the skin and get the crackling going. Roast at this heat for a good 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to gas 5 / 190C and transfer to a clean roasting tin. Continue cooking for another 2 - 2 1/2 hours until the meat is soft and tender. Remove from the oven , transfer to a plate and cover with foil, and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile make the gravy - pour off any excess oil, and place the roasting tray on the hob on low to medium heat. Deglaze with the sherry or white wine. Simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce the alcohol; add a splash of water if it's too strong.
Slice the pork into thin slices. Serve with garlic mash - and we're having fennel poached in chicken stock to keep the theme going!