Confit of Pork with Soft Polenta

For fans of slow food, try Mark Broadbent's no-rush recipe for succulent pork belly cooked in pork dripping or duck fat
By Mark Broadbent
Confit of Pork with Soft Polenta
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes + 36 hrs standing time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 1 whole pork belly
  • 500 g coarse sea salt
  • small bunch thyme
  • small bunch rosemary
  • small bunch parsley
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 litres pork dripping or duck fat
  • oil, for frying
  • olive oil, for drizzling

For the polenta

  • 500 g polenta
  • 1½ litres water
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig of thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • very good qualityextra virgin olive oil
  • butter
  • parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsp mostarda di frutta, to serve

Method

1. Score the skin of the pork belly with a sharp knife, in a lattice effect.

2. Combine the salt, herbs and garlic in a food processor and rub the mixture into the skin of the pork and all over the surface. Leave the salted pork in the fridge for 24hrs, then rinse under cold water.

3. Preheat the oven to 150C / gas mark 2.

4. Put the dripping or duck fat into a roasting dish and heat on the hob. Add the pork belly, making sure all parts are covered and bring the fat up to 90C.

5. Cook the pork in the preheated oven for around 3 1/2 hours. Take it out and remove the meat from the fat.

6. While still warm, remove the ribs and cartilage from the joint. allow to cool. Put the pork in between two sheets of greaseproof paper on a metal tray. Balance a another smaller tray on top and weight down (you can use cans for this). Leave for a further 12 hours in the fridge.

7. Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas mark 6.

8. Once pressed, portion the pork into 4 rectangles. Heat enough oil in an ovenproof frying pan to submerge the pork skin and fat, put the pork in skin-side down and transfer to the oven for 10-12 minutes until the skin becomes crackling.

9. For the polenta: infuse the water, milk, herbs and garlic for a few minutes over a low heat.

10. Strain the mixture, return to the pan and whisk in the polenta. Heat for 8-10 minutes or until the polenta has soaked up all the liquid. Add more water if it is getting too thick.

11. Stir through the olive oil, butter, grated parmesan cheese and a little sea salt, according to taste.

12. Divide the polenta and pork between 4 plates and serve with a dollop of roughly chopped mostarda di frutta, a drizzle of pan juices and a little olive oil.

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