Pork Belly with Roasted Spring Vegetables

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This is probably the best pork that will pass through your lips. Honestly it’s that good. Once again I was inspired by my visit to the weekly market and the wonderful spring offerings bursting forth from each stall. I was like a kid on a sugar high. I’m a sucker for anything that is vegetable and in baby form…Really I probably need therapy. Since I officially gave up on lent, pork was the only option that I entertained. So on my way home I popped into the butcher and acquired 2 pounds of heavenly pork belly.  Meat from the belly contains the most fat and therefore we usually see this cut in the form what should be an essential food group…bacon! You read that correctly I am roasting uncured bacon. So forget the ham and chops, this is the cut you want. With fresh beets, carrots and celery root it doesn’t get any easier or tastier than this.
What you need:
  • 1 kilo pork belly from your local butcher (skin on)
  • 1/2 cup crushed fennel seeds
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh spring carrots (you could choose any vegetables here from potatoes to parsnips)
  • 1 small celery root cut into slices
  • 1 bunch fresh spring beets
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bottle red wine (for the sauce)
  • 50-70g butter

How It’s done:

  • Put the wine in a small pot on low and reduce by 2/3 then set aside.
  • Using a sharp knife, score the skin into a 1″ grid layout. Be very careful to cut only the skin not the meat.
  • Crush the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle.
  • Smash up the garlic with the flat of your knife and give it a quick chop.
  • Combine the fennel and garlic and add enough olive oil until you create a nice paste.
  • Spread the paste over the skin to create a nice crust.
  • Trim the vegetables and add them to your roasting pan.
  • Place the pork on top (skin side up.)
  • Place in a 180C oven and roast for about an hour, or until the skin is crunchy and the vegetables are done.
  • Let cool for 5 min or so.
  • Reheat the wine and add the butter. (This creates an robust sauce that you could use on any cut of meat.)
  • To serve, cut the pork into desired slices, plate with vegetables, and drizzle wine sauce over it all.  Season with salt and pepper and enjoy.

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