Braised Pork Belly with Fennel Slaw and Artichoke Mash

I have been meaning to try cooking pork belly for a long time now, but I have always been a little bit apprehensive about it. However after trying it this weekend, I don’t know why I was so worried! It is very easy, and pork belly is a relatively cheap cut of meat. I will definitely make it again.

Braised Pork Belly

Ingredients – Serves 4
For the pork

Pork belly – 1kg
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt, pepper
1 tbsp. Coconut oil

2 shallots
2 medium carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 fennel stalks
1 bottle of cider
2 tbsp. Cranberry sauce

For the sides:

400g Jerusalem Artichoke
1 shallot
1/4 cup cream
Salt and Pepper

1 cabbage
1 small red onion
1 fennel bulb
1 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 160°C. If your pork hasn’t been scored, use a sharp knife to score the fat in a criss-cross pattern. In a small bowl, run together the brown sugar, fennel seeds, paprika and salt and pepper. Rub this mix into the fat side of the pork.

Finely chop the shallots, celery, carrots and fennel stalks and put to one side.

Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan (one that is large enough to fit the pork in one piece). Once hot, lay the pork fat-side down and fry for 5 minutes until crisp and dark golden. Remove the pork from the pan and lay in a large roasting dish. In the hot oil remaining in the frying pan, quickly sauté all the chopped vegetables. Pour in the cider and stir through the cranberry sauce. Add this vegetable mix to the roasting pan, ensuring that some of the liquid gets underneath the pork. Place in the oven for two hours, checking once or twice to stir the liquid and spoon over the meat.

When there is only half an hour left to go, start preparing the sides.

Thinly slice the cabbage and red onion and place into a large bowl. Grate the fennel bulb and place into the bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss well to combine. Add extra fennel seeds if you like!

For the Jerusalem artichoke mash – peel and chop the artichoke into small cubes. Place into boiling water along with the peeled shallot and simmer for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain the water, then add the cream, and use a blender or stick blender to puree until smooth.

To serve, spread a generous dollop of the artichoke puree on a warm plate, then spoon some of the vegetables alongside it. Slice the pork carefully – it should be very tender and may just fall apart! Lay alongside the vegetables. I like to garnish with some fried Jerusalem artichoke peelings and a fried sage leaf.

Cider Braised Pork Belly