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Asian inspired Crispy Pork Belly with Cherry Sauce

There's no hunger a crispy piece of crackling can't resolve. Enjoy this delicious Asian-inspired dish with a sweet and savoury cherry sauce this Christmas.

Asian inspired Crispy Pork Belly with Cherry Sauce

Serves 8

2kg piece boneless pork belly (or 2x 1kg ones)
2 tbsp grated ginger
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp five spice powder
2 tbsp sea-salt, 2 tsp extra
Coriander, to garnish

Cherry sauce
30g butter, plus 30g extra
3 eshallots, finely diced
2 tsp grated ginger
1 cups red wine
1 cup beef stock
250g (2 cups) frozen cherries
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour, mixed in 1 tbsp cold water (optional)

Remove any excess hairs on the pork. Place pork into a large colander, pour boiling water over the skin, the skin will pull and tighten. Dry pork with paper towel. Using a small sharp knife, poke as many holes into the skin as you can. The more holes you make, the better the crackling. Turn pork over, using a sharp knife, slice meat in 2cm intervals, being careful not to cut all the way through to the skin.

Place ginger and garlic into a large mortar and pestle, crush to make a paste, then add the shallots to crush slightly. Stir in five spice powder, season with salt and pepper. Using clean hands, rub the paste into the pork intervals, massaging well. Place pork, skin side up onto a rack lined tray. Sprinkle sea-salt over skin, gently rub in. Store the pork uncovered in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but the best results will be to leave overnight, as this will help the skin dry out to give you perfect crackling skin. Use paper towel to absorb any pools of liquid.

Preheat oven to 220C. Remove any excess pools of liquid from pork as well as in the tray. By this stage, you will have no salt left on skin, rub in the extra 2 teaspoons. Turn pork skin side down and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200C, turn pork skin side up and bake for a further 50 minutes or until pork is cooked. If necessary, grill the pork belly for 3-4 minutes to help crisp up the crackle. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting into pieces.

To make the cherry sauce, heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add eschallots and ginger and cook 2 minutes, or until softened. Add wine, simmer for 8-10 minutes or until reduced. Add stock, cherries, soy, balsamic and sugar and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until syrupy. Whisk in remaining butter a little at a time to enrich. Thicken sauce with combined cornflour and water if you like a thicker sauce.

TIP: The pork belly is best prepared the day before, to help the flavours develop and to give you the best results when crackling the skin.

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