I purchased a nice slab of pork belly today to make bacon. However one side was very thick, and in order to cure evenly I trimmed it up a bit. That left me with an 1.8 lb (825g) chunk of pork belly that has some lovely meat and fat.
I had a big bag of Brussels sprouts leaves left over from when I harvested the sprouts that have kept remarkably well in the crisper. These are not stripped spouts rather the large leaves that grow off the stalk. Seemed a shame to throw them in the compost so I trimmed and kept them. While the belly roasted, I did a slow braise of the greens. Combined with some roasted apples this made a hearty autumnal meal!
I’m happy that the herbs and sprout leaves came from the garden. Now about an Apple tree……
Let the meat come up to room temperature before roasting. This ensures even cooking.
Here is what I did.
For the pork belly
1.8lb piece of skin-on pork belly at room temperature (You could use 1.5 or 2 lbs I don’t think it matters much)
3 fresh sage leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
4-5 flat parsely leaves
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 apple per person cut in half
An hour before roasting…
- Score the pork skin with a sharp knife (If you are not comfortable scoring the skin – ask your butcher to do it.). Cut through to the fat but try to avoid hitting the meat.
- Mince the herbs and add the salt, rub the mixture betwen your fingers to allow the sharp edges of the salt to crush the herbs – releasing their oils.
- Rub the salt/herb mixture into the scores on the pork skin. Salt and pepper the other sides.
- Preheat oven to 475F
- Place herbed pork belly on rack in roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water (Do this now before you put it in the oven, not after the pork belly has rendered some fat. Don’t ask me how I know. Trust me.)
- Put into hot oven.
- Roast for 30 minutes.
- At 30 minutes reduce heat to 350F.
- Roast for another 30 minutes
- Add halved apples, and continue to cook 1 more hour.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
While the pork belly roasts, prep the greens.(see below)
For the greens
.5 pounds Brussels sprouts greens
1 slice of bacon chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
1 cup of chicken stock divided
- Trim brussels spouts leaves, roll into cigar shape, cut into ribbons (a chiffonade.)
- In a dutch oven, over medium high heat cook the bacon, releasing the fat.
- Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned
- Add olive oil
- Add sprout leaves and stir to coat
- Reduce heat to low, add 1/2 cup stock stir and cover
- Cook, stirring occasionally. Add more stock if it is starting to dry out.
- Simmer covered, until pork is done (about 1 hour)
Plate pork with apples and greens.
The greens were similar to collard greens, delicious and a hint of bitterness. The pork moist, succulent, but I must admit, the cracklings (crisp skin) were not my favorite part. They had great flavor, and for crackling fans, I’m sure a delight. But I’d rather have the luscious roasted meat.
Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!