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Slow-cooked belly of pork with Perry’s Cider and a sage and cider gravy

Serves: 
4

Top Tip: Perry’s single variety Dabinett Cider makes an ideal accompaniment to this dish

Recipe by Jane Bond, Chef/Proprietor, New Farm Restaurant, Over Stratton

"We are surrounded by orchards so naturally a lot of my inspiration is Somerset based and cider features strongly", says Jane Bond.
 

This recipe is taken from our recipe book: A Taste of the West Country produced by our publishing partner We Make Magazines Ltd
You can purchase your copy for just £10 from our shop (RRP £17.99)

Photography © David Griffin Photography

Ingredients

  • 2 Bramley apples
  • Diced 1 leek,
  • Roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves,
  • Smashed Sprig of fresh sage
  • 500ml Perry’s Dabinett Cider
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1.2kg piece scored boneless pork belly (Ask your butcher to remove all the bone from the pork.)

Method

  1. The first stage is best done the day before to make removing the excess fat easier. Put all the ingredients except the pork into a casserole dish or deep baking tray, then place the meat on top and season with salt and pepper. The pork should be totally submerged – if it isn’t, top up with water. Cover the dish with a lid or tent of foil and place it in the oven for three hours at 180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Once the pork is cooked, leave it to cool slightly in the stock then carefully lift it onto a tray, discarding any tiny pieces of vegetables or herbs, then leave to cool in the fridge overnight. Put all the cooking juices, apple and vegetables into a jug or small saucepan, cover and chill.
  3. The following day place the pork on a board. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the skin off the meat, then cut it into four equal squares. Crisp this up in a hot oven (220°C) ready to be served with the pork. Trim any excess fat off the meat, which again should be cut into four equal squares, and set aside until ready to cook.
  4. Add any of the braising juices left (they may now be jelly) to the saucepan containing the cooking juices. You could use a hand-blender to make a naturally thickened gravy.
  5. Place the pork pieces in a lidded casserole dish, splash a bit of cider in the bottom, put the lid on tight and place in a pre-heated oven 180°C/gas mark 4 for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Heat up the gravy, adding more liquid (cider!) if necessary, and warm the crisped skin for five minutes, before removing the pork from the oven.
  7. Serve the pork on mashed potato with stir-fried curly kale.
  8. Top with the crisp crackling and pour a generous amount of the cider gravy around.