Based on a Jamie Oliver recipe. Serves 4
- 1.5kgpork belly
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 red onions, halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved length-ways
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped in half
- 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
- a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 600ml chicken stock
- Preheat your oven to full whack, it needs to be at least 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
- Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side upwards. Get yourself a small sharp knife and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat.
- Rub salt right into all the scores youve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you have to.
- Brush any excess salt off the surface of the skin and turn it over. Season the underside of the meat with a little more salt and a little black pepper.
- Place your pork, skin side-up, in a roasting tray big enough to hold the pork and the vegetables, and place in the hot oven.
- Roast for about half an hour until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling.
- Turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and roast for another hour.
- Take out of the oven and baste with the fat in the bottom of the tray.
- Carefully lift the pork up and transfer to a chopping board.
- Add all the veg, garlic and thyme to the tray and stir them into the fat.
- Place the pork on top of everything and pop the tray back in the oven.
- Roast for another hour. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender.
- Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover with tin foil and leave to rest while you make your gravy.
- Spoon away any fat in the tray, then add the water or stock and place the tray on the hob.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon toscrape up all those lovely sticky tasty bits on the bottom of the tray.
- When you've got a nice, dark gravy, pour it through a sieve into a bowl or gravy boat, using your spoon to really push all the goodness of the veg through the sieve.
- Add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it.
- Serve the pork with the crackling, gravy, some creamy mashed potato, nice fresh greens and a dollop of English mustard.