Neil Perry’s Sweet Black Vinegar Pork Belly

Serves: 4

Nat cooked this dish from Neil’s book Balance and Harmony as part of a long Sunday lunch and it was just so good.

This is not your local Chinese “sweet and sour”. Not by a long shot.

It isn’t a complex dish either. Just start the night before and with a bowl of rice, some sliced spring onions and roasted sesame seeds…

Lordy.

Ingredients

500gm boneless pork belly cut into 3cm thick pieces across the grain
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp shaoxing
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
1/3 c soft brown sugar
4 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
Finely sliced spring onion and roasted sesame seeds to serve

Method

  1. Mix together 1/4 tsp of the sea salt, sugar, shaoxing, soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp of the peanut oil, add the pork and leave to marinate for at least2 hours, or overnight. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Heat a wok until smoking. Add the remaining oil and, when hot, stir fry the pork in batches for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until well coloured on all sides. Return all the pork to the wok and add the brown sugar vinegar, remaining salt. And 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the pork is very tender. If the sauce is a little thin, remove the pork from the sauce and return the wok to the heat. Boil until it has a syrupy consistency, then pour over the pork. Sprinkle with the sliced spring onion and sesame seeds.

Adam Liaw’s Salt & Pepper Pork Belly

Serves: 4

There are a couple of chefs and cooks that I put blind faith in.

Adam Liaw is one of them.

When I saw his new book, Asian After Work, a quick skim and it was clear it had to join the house. Nat and I browsed through it in the kitchen that night and I swear, there is not one recipe we would not cook.

It’s that good.

This pork belly is just wonderful and quite a surprise from Nat who is suspicious of pork belly on calorie grounds.

Made my night and teaches that pork belly is not exclusively about slow cooking and crackling.

Ingredients

500gm piece of pork belly, skin and bones removed
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced
2 spring onions, white and light green parts, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp salt flakes
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
A handful of coriander leaves to serve
Boiled Jasmine rice to serve

Method

  1. Slice the pork into 1cm steaks, then cut into 3cm squares about 1cm thick.
  2. Heat a wok or frypan until very hot and add the sesame oil. Fry the pork in batches until well browned on all sides and cooked through. Set aside.
  3. Poor out any excess fat from the pan and add the garlic, chilli and spring onions. Toss over very high heat until the garlic starts to brown and the mixture is very fragrant. Return pork pieces to the wok, add the salt and black pepper and toss to coat well.
  4. Transfer to a warm plate, scatter with coriander and serve.

Porteno’s (Christmas) Porchetta

Serves: 8

This is a wonderful Argentinian recipe from Porteno, an equally as wonderful Sydney restaurant.

I’m not sure how you could go wrong with this one: pork belly, chilli, herbs and plenty of cooking time. Go further and over a high heat on your grill, crispen the skin even further for 15 minutes once you’re done with the oven.

Even better than the night before, the pork is incredible on a roll the next day with a bit more of the chimichurri, butter and some of the crackling.

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy this one though at the very least, you would be mad not to do this at Christmas during that crazy time between Christmas Day and New Years.

This is what it is all about.

Ingredients

3 – 4kg pork belly, deboned, skin on
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fine salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
Extra fine salt

Chimichurri
1 cup flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup coriander (loosely packed)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Method

  1. For the pork: Start preparing the pork belly the day before cooking. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the fennel seeds, salt, chilli flakes, peppercorns, garlic and rosemary together to make a paste. Rub the paste on the inside of the pork belly.
  2. Roll the pork belly lengthways and using butcher’s twine, tie the meat at 2 ½cm intervals to hold it together. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. Remove the porchetta from the fridge and uncover. Season with fine salt all over the skin. Leave for 1 to 2 hours to draw out the moisture. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove the salt.
  4. Heat the oven to 150c. Place the porchetta on a rack inside a baking tray. Put in the oven and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Increase the heat to 200c for 15 minutes to crackle the skin.
  5. For the chimichurri: Pulse the ingredients in a food processor until you have a paste.
  6. Serve the pork with the chimichurri.