Whole roast pork belly with English apples and wild garlic polenta

Adam Byatt's recipe for pork belly, cooked on the bone with crisp crackling and creamy polenta and tart English apples, is made for sharing
By Adam Byatt
Whole roast pork belly with English apples and wild garlic polenta
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes plus 4 hours if making your own chicken stock
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus at least 2 hours 20 mins resting time
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the chicken stock, if making your own (makes about 4 litres)

  • 1.5 kg chicken wings
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • ½ leeks, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 heads garlic, cut in half through the equator
  • few sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

For the pork and apples

  • 1 x 2.5kg whole pork belly, with bones in, skin scored (a breed with good fat distribution such as Old Spot or Middle White is best)
  • 6 English braeburn apples
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g caster sugar

For the polenta

  • 2 litres chicken stock, (see recipe above)
  • 180 g butter
  • 500 g quick cook polenta
  • 100 g wild garlic, shredded
  • 1 bunches rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped

Method

1. For the chicken stock: tip all of the chicken stock ingredients, apart from the thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns, into a large saucepan with 6 litres of cold water. Bring to boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours, occasionally skimming off any scum that forms on the surface.

2. Add the thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns and simmer for a further hour. Strain the stock into a large container and use straight away or cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

3. For the pork and apples: sprinkle the pork skin liberally with sea salt and leave to stand for 2 hours.

4. Cut each apple into 3 slices through the equator. Score the cut sides of the apple slices several times then arrange in a single layer on kitchen paper and set aside to dry for 2 hours (this will help them caramelise more easily).

5. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

6. Place the pork, skin-side-up, on a wire rack in a roasting tray. Roast for 35 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and roast the pork for a further hour. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes to ensure the meat is tender and juicy.

7. While the pork is roasting, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat, place the apples in the pan, scored-side-down, and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden-brown. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the sugar has melted and caramelised. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

8. For the polenta: bring the chicken stock and 100g of the butter to a rapid boil in a large saucepan. Stir in the polenta, reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Stir continuously for 10-20 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until the polenta is cooked and has a thick, porridge-like consistency.

9. Remove from heat, stir in the remaining butter, wild garlic and chopped rosemary.

10. Serve the pork with the caramelised apples and polenta alongside.

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