Pork belly with seared scallops

A vibrant pea purée finishes off Paul Merrett's pork belly, which is slowly cooked then finished off in a frying pan
By Paul Merrett
Pork belly with seared scallops
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus chilling overnight
  • Effort: easy


For the pork belly

  • 1.5 kg pork belly, off the bone
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion, peeled but left whole
  • small bunch thyme
  • small bunch rosemary
  • 3-4 star anise
  • 1/2 head garlic

For the port reduction

  • 100 ml port
  • stock, reserved from cooking the pork belly

For the pea pur'e

  • 300 ml water
  • 400 g peas
  • 1/2 chicken stock, cube
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped chervil
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped tarragon

For the scallops

  • 8 large scallops


1. For the pork belly: place the belly in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add the whole carrot, onion, thyme, rosemary, star anise and garlic.

2. Slowly bring to a simmer, then cook for 1-2 hours, or until the pork belly is cooked and tender. Remove the belly from the stock, reserving a few spoonfuls of the stock for the port reduction.

3. Place the pork belly on a tray and place another tray on top. Weigh down the top tray to press the pork belly down, then chill in the fridge overnight.

4. For the pea purée: bring a small pan of water to the boil and add the butter and stock cube. Stir until the butter is melted and the stock cube has dissolved. Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the chervil and tarragon. Remove from the heat and drain, reserving half the cooking liquid.

5. Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the peas to a coarse purée, adding a splash of the reserved stock if the mixture is too dry.

6. For the port reduction: heat the port and a few tablespoons of the reserved pork belly cooking stock in a small pan. Simmer until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.

7. Remove the pork belly from the fridge and thickly slice it. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and fry the pork belly slices for 2-3 minutes on both sides, or until heated through and golden-brown all over. Transfer to serving plates.

8. For the scallops: return the pan used to cook the pork belly to the heat and fry for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown and just cooked through.

9. To serve, place the scallops on top of the pork belly slices and spoon the pea purée alongside. Drizzle the port reduction around the plate.

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