Crispy pork belly with chargrilled pineapple pickle

The festive season is here and it’s my favourite time of the year. There is always a special vibe at the end of the year which I absolutely love! As we all try to finish our years work and goals there is always Christmas to look forward to. The day that we all stop, sit down and have some special family time. Whether small or large, a family feast is always a day to remember. I’ve been working on lots of Christmas recipes for this year, which are a mix of new and old. Thing thats we have always cooked in my family and also recipes that new, fresh and great for a Christmas summer feast. This first recipe below is something that I’ve combined – my obsession with chargrilled pineapple pickle last year served with really really crispy and juicy pork belly. I’m so happy to finally have a great recipe as well for pork belly!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did making it!

Crispy pork belly with chargrilled pineapple pickle

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 2 ½ hours

Serves: 4 as a share plate or 2 for 1 main meal

Ingredients

Pork:

1 medium sized pork belly (the pork belly will shrink when cooked so keep this in mind when choosing the right size)

3 tbsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

Chargrilled pineapple pickle sauce:

1 x small or medium sized pineapple

½ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 x star anise whole pods

7 x cloves

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

large pinch of salt

1 large bunch of watercress

2 tbsp x olive oil

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. To prepare the pork use a skewer or other pointy kitchen device to pierce very lightly through the pork belly skin (see note). Cover the skin of the pork belly with the 3 tablespoons of salt then flip the pork over skin side down and place into a baking tray. Place the baking tray into the oven and allow the pork to cook skin side down for 1 hour. After the first hour take the baking tray out of the oven, flip the pork over using tongs and place back into the oven for approximately 90 minutes – longer for a larger piece of pork. By the end of this time the skin will be golden and crunchy and easy to eat!
  2. While the pork is cooking you can prepare the chargrilled pineapple pickle sauce. Remove the ends of the pineapple then slice the pineapple in half lengthways and slice each half into pieces then remove the skin using a knife.
  3. Heat a chargrill or a frying pan and add some oil or butter (the chargrill pan will create the dark lines but if you don’t have one a basic frying pan will still create a caramelized flavour). Chargrill the pineapple pieces on each side until slightly softened, the juices of the fruit begin to come out and the surface is charred or golden brown if using a basic pan.
  4. Once you have cooked the pineapple remove the slices from the pan and allow them to cool for a bit until you can further slice up the pineapple pieces into mini triangles. Cut the pieces into mini triangles and place in a pot with the rest of the ingredients for the pickle sauce, as well as ¼ cup of water.
  5. Bring the mixture in the pot to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes minimum or until the liquid has reduced slightly and the pineapple has changed colour as well as softened. Set aside and allow to cool slightly then if you would like, remove any cloves or pods of star anise.
  6. Slice up the pork belly and place on a bed of watercress topped with olive oil. Add the chargrilled pineapple pickle sauce over the top of the pork or serve on the side. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Pierce tiny little holes through the skin of the pork. Try not to pierce through to the layer of fat as you want to avoid the fat coming through the holes whilst cooking, that way the pork belly retains its moisture and doesn’t dry out. Piercing holes in the skin will help the skin puff up, it will also help the salt absorb better into the pork, dehydrating it and helping it to become crispy. Make sure to pierce lots of these tiny holes!

Recipe created for Harris Farm Markets

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