Cider-braised pork belly with apples

This is a classic pairing of flavours that brings out the best in both meat and fruit 

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1.4kg piece pork belly, rind removed, cut into 3cm cubes
400g pack Waitrose Echalion Shallots, peeled and halved
3 Cox apples, cored and cut into 6 wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
8 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
500ml bottle Waitrose Duchy Organic Herefordshire Vintage Cider
500ml chicken stock
 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof casserole and fry the pork in batches for 5 minutes until golden, transferring to a plate with a slotted spoon as you go. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the shallots to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally until golden, then transfer to the plate with the pork. Repeat the process with the apple wedges.

2. Add the garlic to the pan, fry for a minute, then add the sage and thyme. Pour over the cider, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, then return the pork, shallots and apples to the pan, and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 2½ hours.

3. Carefully remove the cooked pork, apples and shallots with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a warm serving dish. Skim any excess fat from the braising liquid, then bring to the boil and reduce by half. Pour the sauce over the pork and serve with mashed potatoes.