Saturday, May 18, 2013

Oven Braised Pork Belly

I get requests to do this dish for the occasional gatherings that take place at my humble home. It usually goes rather quickly. Popular even among the health conscious folks, to my initial surprise. It does take some time and effort to get done but the results are well worth it.

Oven Braised Pork Belly
Here's what you'll need to enough to serve 6-8.

1.5 kg slab of pork belly, skin on.
About 1.5 litres of brown chicken stock (recipe here)
2 carrots - peeled and roughly chopped.
2 stalks of celery - roughly chopped.
2 leeks (White and light green parts only) - roughly chopped.
1 yellow/white onion - roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic - peeled
few sprigs of thyme
oil for frying


1. Pre-heat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large oven proof skillet or pan over medium heat. Add in the onion, leeks, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook the vegetables until they just start to brown. About 15-20 mins.

3. Lower the heat, put the pork in the skillet, skin side up. Spreading the vegetables around the pork, making sure none of the vegetables in under the pork.

4. Pour in about 2-3 cups of the stock, making sure to surround the pork but not cover it. Bring the stock to a simmer and transfer to the oven. Use a paper towel to dry the skin and generously salt the skin evenly if you want to save the skin to serve as crackling later.

Note: If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, just use a regular baking dish that is large enough. Fry the vegetables in the frying pan, then transfer the vegetables to the baking dish and placing the baking/casserole dish into the oven

5.  Leave the pork to cook in the oven for about 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours. Checking after 30 mins, to add stock. Do not let the braising liquid get too low.

6. Remove the skillet from the oven. Let the pork cool. When cool enough to touch, gently lift the skin off. Using sharp knife, gently cut those places where the skin and fat refuse the separate. You want to leave as much fat on the meat as possible, and almost no fat attached to the skin if possible. Set the skin aside.

7. Make a cross hatch pattern on the fat using a small knife. Put the pork back into the oven. Cook until the fat is browned. About 20-30 mins or so.

8. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10-15 mins. You an use this resting time to scoop out some of the fat that has formed on the surface of the braising liquid. Cut into portions and serve with a little of the braising liquid in a shallow bowl.

This is what it looks like as a whole slab. This is the picture of an earlier instance when I made this dish. The pic is just to show how it looks like as a whole, when its comes out of the oven. The top layer you see is actually the fat being browned after the skin is removed.
The whole slab of Braised Pork Belly

Hope you'll like it! 

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