Justine says; “Pork Belly is one of our absolute favourite cuts of meat ever. I usually make it with a fennel rub, and then slice it after roasting, but I fancied something a little lighter here, and wanted to shred the pork afterwards for each serving, on top of mashed potato. I came up with this herb rub, and increased the slow cooking time to create that easy-to-shred, pulled texture to the pork you’re after. Of course, as you usually do, please use a lot of salt and garlic: the salt serves not only to flavour the pork, but to crisp the crackling up. I place my pork belly straight onto the rack of the oven, and I place a tray of water underneath it: this serves to cath the dripping fat, and also to keep the moisture going in the oven. My oven doesn’t dry things out, so I am able to high roast and then slow roast in this way with no fear of the meat drying out. I roast the belly for a very long time: I roast it on a high heat for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 150 and roast it for about 2-3 hours. I then remove the crackling, I keep this warm, and I wrap the remaining piece of meat in tin foil, and then pop it back into the oven, turn the oven right down to about 100 degrees and keep it slowly cooking for another 2 hours. Just before serving, if the crackling needs crisping up further, I simply pop it back into a very hot oven and it will crisp up beautifully. We served ours on top of that gorgeous beef marrow mash, with simple steamed greens dressed in a little lemon juice, and with carrots I sautéed with onions, dried apricots & topped with toasted almonds.”
Shredded Pork with herbs
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
1 kg (or just over) pork belly, bones removed from the bottom, and skin scored deeply
A heaped cup of finely chopped mixed herbs: rosemary, sage, parsley and oregano
1 jalapeno chilli, finely chopped, seeds included
3 cloves garlic, peeled and microplaned
1 tsp salt
Good grinding black pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice
Extra salt for the skin of the belly
Mix all of the ingredients together- you may want to use a pestle and mortar for this, or a blender to create a fairly rough rub. I think smashing the herbs releases more flavour- so I tend to do this.
Make incisions in the belly: however you want to do this is fine, across the belly, under the skin- as long as you have “spaces” or slits in which to pop the herby rub. Stuff the gaps with the rub, and also stuff the rub between the scored skin, push it deeply into the fat and meat of the belly.
Sprinkle a little extra salt on top of the skin. Place in a preheated, hot oven (200 degrees) straight onto the oven rack, with a tray of water underneath the belly. Roast on this high heat for 20 minutes, then turn the heat right down to 150 for a further 2-3 hours, always checking that the tray of water hasn’t run dry.
After this long slow cooking time, remove the belly, and slice off the crackling. Set the crackling aside in a warm place. Wrap the belly up well in tin foil, and pop back in the oven for 2 hours at 100 degrees. After this time, and when most of your veggies are ready, remove the belly from the oven. If your crackling needs crisping up in hot oven, do this now, ensuring you keep an eye on it. Allow the belly to rest for 15 minutes, while you finish up the rest of the prep. Open up the parcel, and shred the pork with two forks, or, in my case, with your hands- it will be hot, so be careful. Serve with a relish (that chilli tomato jam from a few weeks ago was great with this), and all your other bits and pieces.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
I live on Salisbury Plain, England, in a very old, wonky thatched cottage that looks like it’s been iced with royal icing and topped with Shredded Wheat. I grew up in South Africa, but have lived in England for 18 years.
I run my design business, Hector and Haddock, from my studio at home where I design linocuts, screen prints, tea towels and greeting cards. A complete bibliophile and self confessed hoarder, all of my designs and work pay homage to vintage graphics and paper. I also use this extensive paper ephemera collection to create bespoke paper pictures for clients.
More than anything, I love to cook for people. I hope that you find these recipes helpful, inspiring and delicious, even if you don’t follow a gluten free diet. There’s more on the inspiration behind my blog in The Plain Kitchen