Roast belly pork

Paul Rankin knows that the secret to perfect crackling is lots of patience' and some salt and vinegar
By Paul Rankin
Roast belly pork
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the pork

  • 2 tbsp malt or white wine vinegar
  • 1 kg boneless pork belly, skin on
  • 4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulbs garlic, cloves crushed

For the gravy

  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 250 ml chicken or pork stock
  • 2 tbsp Spanish membrillo (quince cheese), cut into fine dice
  • balsamic vinegar or sherry, to taste

To serve

  • mashed potatoes
  • Savoy cabbage


1. For the pork: pour enough water into a roasting tin to come up to 1cm high, then add one tablespoon of the vinegar. Place on the hob and bring to the boil

2. Carefully set the pork into the pan, skin side down, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the tray and pat dry with kitchen paper.

3. Season the flesh with half of the sea salt, the sugar and the pepper. Turn over and carefully pierce the skin all over with the point of a sharp knife.

4. Rub the remaining salt into the skin, then rub on the remaining vinegar.

5. Place the pork belly on a tray, uncovered, and place into the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before roasting.

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

7. Lay the pork skin side up on a rack set on top of a roasting tray. Place into the middle of the hot oven and roast for 30 minutes.

8. Remove the rack and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the roasting pan, and place the pork on top. Return the pan to the oven and continue to roast, stirring the vegetables occasionally to prevent burning, until caramelised and golden-brown.

9. Move the pork to the top shelf of the oven and roast for a further 45 minutes at 180C/gas 4, checking occasionally to make sure the skin is browning nicely and is not getting too dark. The skin should blister beautifully all over.

10. When cooked, remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes, reserving the vegetables and cooking juices. Carve the pork with a serrated knife into ½cm slices.

11. For the gravy: pour off any excess fat from the pan, add one tablespoon of the flour and stir well into the vegetables. Return to the oven for five minutes.

12. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Place the pan over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any caramelised juices. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.

13. Add the stock, stir well, then transfer the vegetables and liquid to a saucepan. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve, pushing down on the vegetables to extract all the juices. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the quince paste and vinegar or sherry, to taste.

14. Serve the pork slices with mashed potatoes and Savoy cabbage, with the gravy poured over and around the pork.

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