zoom Slow-roast pork belly with white beans
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    Slow-roast pork belly with white beans

    Reader Andrew Cartwright asked for a recipe for belly pork, slow-roasted to produce a succulent result. Here, chef Mark Prescott of the Mulberry Tree in Wrightington Bar, Lancashire, shares his home-cured method.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 2 days marinating and chilling
    • Cooking time: 270 minutes
    • Total time: 5 hours, plus 2 days marinating and chilling

    Serves: 4


    For the cure:

    40g salt
    40g caster sugar
    2 tsp celery salt
    2 tsp 5-spice powder

    1kg piece boned belly pork
    1 onion, roughly chopped
    1 carrot, roughly chopped
    1 stick celery, roughly chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 tsp finely chopped sage
    2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
    10g coarse sea salt
    10g cracked black pepper
    400ml cold water
    200ml white wine
    200ml chicken stock
    2 tbsp olive oil

    Warmed white beans, such as cannallini or haricot, to serve


    1. Two days ahead, mix the cure ingredients together. Score the pork rind widthways with a sharp knife at 1cm intervals. Rub the cure over both sides of the pork. Put in a non-metallic dish. Cover and chill for 24 hours. 
    2. Put the pork on a rack over the sink, rind side up. Pour over a kettle of boiling water. Pat dry with a cloth. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Put the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a roasting tray. Lay the pork on top, rind-side up. Mix the herbs, salt and pepper and rub into the rind. Add the water to the tray. Cook for 1 hour. Reduce the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1. Cook for 3 hours more, basting every 30 minutes.
    3. Cool, then chill, uncovered, overnight. Meanwhile, add the wine and stock to the tray. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring. Strain, cool, cover and set aside in the fridge.
    4. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Cut the pork into 4-8 large pieces. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over a medium heat. Brown the pork on both sides, in batches, adding more oil if necessary, then roast for 20 minutes. 
    5. Discard the fat from the reserved, cooled pan juices. from the previous day.  Reheat the juices until boiling and piping hot.   Serve the pork with the juices and warmed white beans.

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