Add a sweet touch to the standard pork belly roast with caramelised apples which are a healthier alternative to sugar. This candied treat will definitely be a hit with the kids.
- 4 kg piece boneless pork belly
- 1 bulb garlic, halved
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsps coarse cooking salt
- 110 g caster sugar
- 125 ml calvados (apple brandy)
- 20 g butter
- 4 small apples, peeled, halved and cored
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 French shallots, sliced thinly
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 750 ml dry apple cider
- 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
- 50 g chilled butter, chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 140 C. Using a small sharp knife (or a Stanley knife), score the pork rind.
Place garlic and thyme in the base of a medium baking dish. Season the pork flesh with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place pork, rind-side up, on garlic mixture. Add enough boiling water to the baking dish to almost cover pork (try not to cover rind). Place a sheet of baking paper over pork. Cover dish tightly with foil, ensuring it is completely sealed. Roast for 4 hours (the pork should be starting to fall apart).
Remove pork from the baking dish; discard liquid. Cool pork to room temperature, keeping it covered with baking paper and foil (refrigerate overnight, if desired).
Preheat oven to 220 C. Cut pork into 8 equal pieces. Place pork on a baking-paper lined oven tray. Rub the rind with oil and coarse cooking salt. Roast for about 30 mins or until the rind is crisp and browned.
Place sugar in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until sugar turns a dark caramel colour. Add calvados and flambe; (be very careful, this will flame). Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 min, then add butter and apples; stir to coat the apples in butter mixture. Cook, covered loosely, for about 8 to 10 mins, turning apples occasionally until just tender.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots, garlic and thyme for about 3 to 4 mins or until tender. Add cider and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 mins or until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Add stock cube; simmer for 2 mins. Remove from heat. Strain mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return cider to the pan over low heat. Gradually whisk in butter (piece by piece) until shiny and thickened slightly. Stir in parsley.
Recipe & Photo: The Australian Women’s Weekly/BauerSyndication.com.au