Sunday, November 18, 2007

Crackling Good

I have a weakness for roasted pork of all cuisines. As chefs, we know that pork is one of the most flavourful meat in culinary and beyond meat, the pig also renders us fragrant pork lard, savoury hams (think Jin Hua, Parma and Serrano not supermarket picnic hams), breakfast bacon rashers etc…
Pork is very versatile when it comes to cooking and the different cuts of ribs, collar shoulder (wu hua rou), belly, loin and fillet are all excellent for roasting in different cuisines. Among them, a well roasted pork belly regardless of cuisine style is one of the most sinful occasional indulgence. Currently running in my Xmas workshops with the PA CCs, I share one of the few versions of roast pork belly recipes below:

Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Balsamic Soy Glaze
12 portions
1 slab Pork Belly, ~2 Kg 6-8cm thick
2tsps Five Spice Powder
1tbsp Salt
150ml Light Soya Sauce
5tbsps Sugar
600ml Water
4pcs Star Anise
10pcs Clove
2pcs Cinnamon Stick
1tbsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
100ml Balsamic Vinegar
6pcs Whole Garlic Cloves
60ml Oil for cooking

400g Fine French Beans (Kenya Beans)/Haricot Verts, trimmed
1medium Yellow Onion, sliced
Preparation Method:
1. Season pork belly with five spice powder and salt. Allow to dry in fridge uncovered for overnight. Combine sauce ingredients together and pour into a roasting tray.
2. Place pork belly onto the roasting tray with the skin side up. Roast in a preheated oven for 2 hours at 160ºc. After half an hour, score the meat with a nails spoke or fork. Add some extra water to the sauce if it dries up too quickly.
3. Drain and discard spices in the sauce, dilute out the sauce with some water to taste, adjusting with some sugar or vinegar as necessary. Thicken the sauce slightly with cornstarch if desired. Keep warm and reserve for serving. In the last 20 minutes, increase temperature to 220ºc to achieve a crackling skin. Allow pork to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
4. Heat oil in pan, sauté beans and onions till cooked. Divide into 12 portions, arrange sliced pork belly on top and drizzle some sauce over the meat before serving.

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