Slow roasted sweet & sticky pork belly

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes + marinating overnight
  • Cooking time: 5 hours 40 minutes
  • Total time: 5 hours 55 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

5 tsp fennel seeds
5 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100ml apple juice
100ml soy sauce
100ml sherry vinegar
250ml chicken stock
5 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp English mustard
100g apricot jam
2 kg pork belly joint (from the service counter)

Method

Dry-fry the spices in a frying pan over a low heat for about 5 minutes until you can really start smelling the aromas. Shake the pan from time to time to stop them burning.

Add the oil to the frying pan and cook the chopped onion, carrot and garlic with the spices over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Pour in the apple juice, soy sauce, vinegar and stock then cook until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds. Stir in the maple syrup, mustard and the apricot jam.

Unroll the pork joint and remove the skin. Place in a dish. Massage the marinade into the pork and cover liberally with the spice mixture, reserving some. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight. To cook, place the pork in a shallow roasting tray lined with foil. Roast at 120°C, gas mark 1/2, for 5 hours until the meat is tender.

Remove from the oven, baste with the remaining marinade, then return to the oven for 30 minutes at 220°C, gas mark 7. Although the marinade needs to start caramelising, do not let the meat burn. Check it every 10-15 minutes and turn down the temperature and cover the meat with foil if necessary. To serve, remove the star anise and the cinnamon sticks - leave the other spices, they'll have softened enough and won't be unpleasant to eat whole.