Sometimes it’s nice to put in a little effort and make something absolutely delicious to serve your guests. This tasty pork dish makes an impressive starter or would also act as a lovely lunch served with salads. It’s not difficult to make but it does take some preparation in advance and the cooking time is long and slow. Chef Marcin points out the overnight marinade – don’t forget to factor this into your timing.
The dish uses boneless pork belly which is an inexpensive cut readily available at any butcher. This recipe avoids any chance of it tasting ‘fatty’ by scoring the skin in advance and cooking until most of the fat has either melted away or crisped to a delicious crackling. The dry marinade is an aromatic combination which flavours the pork all the way through. Cooking in the orange juice adds flavour and also ensures meltingly moist pork.
A good quality stock cube is ideal for the vegetable bouillon. Chef Marcin cooks the frozen peas in along with chili and garlic – this is a handy trick for a little extra flavour in your Sunday dinner! For this recipe the peas are pureed but they could be left whole with the Sunday roast if you prefer.
Braised pork belly bites with spiced pea purée, black pudding dust and Parma Ham crisp
Serves 4 as a starter
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 6 hours (plus overnight marinade)
1 kg boneless fresh pork belly, skin on and scored
2tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
A sprinkling of chopped fresh thyme and rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
250ml fresh orange juice
3 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
100g frozen peas
100ml vegetable bouillon
half a fresh red chilli, finely chopped
100g black pudding (Chef Marcin uses Kelly’s Black Pudding)
4 slices Parma ham
A few salad leaves to decorate
For the dry marinade
Zest the orange and mix the zest with the Chinese Five Spice Powder, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture into the meat. Cover it (or place in a sealed plastic bag) and leave it overnight in the fridge.
Pre heat the oven to the maximum setting. Lay the pork skin side up on a rack over a roasting tin, making sure the skin is exposed.
Roast for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 180oC/fan oven 160oC/gas mark 4. At this point add the onion, bay leaves and orange juice.
After an hour and a half, take a look at the pork. If the skin isn’t crisp, turn up the heat to 220oC/fan 200oC/gas mark 7, then cook for another 20-30 minutes until golden and crisp.
Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes in a warm place. Cut into bite size pieces.
Spiced Pea Purée
Pour the vegetable bouillon into a small pot. Add the frozen peas, garlic and chilli.
Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes then blend until smooth.
Black Pudding Dust
Pre heat the oven to 200oC/fan oven 180oC/gas mark 6.
Chop the black pudding into small pieces and put it on a baking tray.
Cook for 10 minutes until dry and crisp.
Blend until it is like dust.
While the pudding is cooking, place the Parma Ham on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 3 minutes until crisp
Cut it into medium size pieces.
Divide the pea puree between four heated plates. Place a quarter of the pork bites on each and arrange one of the Parma Ham slices (cut into piece) on top.
Scatter the black pudding dust over the dish and add a few small salad leaves to decorate.