If you had to eat only one meat for the rest of your life, what would that be? This question is often put forward to me by housemate, the Brat. Obviously a debate ensues and every week I seem to have changed my mind and argue the case for something else. On the other hand the Brat is staunch in her believe that it would be pork, most notably pork belly.
I also wonder if gelatine, in particular gummy bears, can count as a meat. I doubt it.
Anyway, listening to the Brat’s gesticulations I decided to cook some pork belly for a dinner party I held for some old school friends last month.
There a multitude of recipes for pork belly but I find the simplest ones are always the best. I found this one amidst the mountain of newspaper cuttings that adorn my bedroom floor; I believe it was from last October’s Observer Food Monthly.
Referring back to the question posed earlier, I like to think the following recipe puts forward the case for pork. You, as the jury, can make up your own minds.
Pork Belly stuffed with Apples, Sage and Sausages
You will need:
pork belly (1.5kg)
5 sausages (I procured some epic Lincolnshire bangers from my local Sainsbury’s)
1 large apple
6 small sage leaves
a small bottle of cider
a little bit of oil or if you are super keen, some pork dripping
salt and pepper
- Set the oven to 220 degrees celcius/gas mark 8.
- Score the skin of the pork belly then lay it flat on the chopping board.
- Remove skin from the sausages and place filling in a mixing bowl.
- Add a little salt and pepper.
- Peel, core and chop the apple into small chunks.
- Mix apple chunks and sage leaves into sausage filling (you can remove the leaves once the belly is cooked and you are carving into it).
- Place the sausagemeat down the centre of the pork.
- Roll up the pork into a cylinder and tie with kitchen string (I used the string that came with pork). This will ensure the stuffing does not fall out whilst roasting.
- Lightly oil the base of a roasting tin and place in the rolled pork.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the pork for 20 minutes then for 40-50mins on a lowered heat of 200 degrees celcius/gas mark 6.
- Once juices are running clear, remove the pork from the tin and keep warm.
- Remove as much of the fat as possible from the remaining juices in the tin.
- Place the tin over a moderate heat. Pour in cider. Stir until all pan stickings are dissolved.
- Carve meat and pour on the pan juices when plating up.
I served this with some cabbage fried in butter and milk & mustard mash potatoes.