1kg boneless pork belly
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sherry or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup light soy
For weighting the belly during cooking, use a brick wrapped in aluminium foil. Or a flat heavy cast iron plate
Drying the skin (this process will make the skin very crisp and glass like)
Lightly score skin side of the belly with the edge of a very sharp knife about 2cm making a cross both ways. Sprinkle 1/2 the salt on top of the skin and refrigerate for 2 hours to draw out any excess moisture. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
Preparing the belly
Place the pork belly skin down on a tray lined with silicon paper (or foil) and check that all of the skin is be flat. Trim the meat if necessary to make sure it is level and of even thickness so the weight will keep it flat on the baking tray.
Marinating the belly
Turn over and stab holes in the meat. Rub in the five spice, cinnamon, remaining salt, vinegar and soy. Place skin side up to keep dry and marinate for 1 hour.
Cooking the belly
Pre-heat oven to 180’C. Place pork belly skin side down on the silicon paper, top with another piece of silicon paper, then a layer of aluminium foil, followed by a flat tray and finally by a brick wrapped with foil (or other heavy object). Cook the belly in pre heated oven for about 1hour, rotating the belly around so it cooks evenly. If the skin is crispy and hard when you touch, it’s ready. Otherwise, increase the heat to 200’C and cook until the skin is glass-like and crackling – this may take a little longer. Remove the belly and rest on a rack before cutting.
Serve with fruit chutneys or caramelised & spiced fruits such as apple, pears, quince or stone fruits when in season. Refreshing with a salad such as Coleslaw, Apple salad, pickles or rocket and fennel salad. Or try a tangy sauce of Pomegranate molasses, citrus reduction, aged balsamic, vinaigrette or Thai style dressing.
Credits Adapted from a recipe by chef Michael Moore.
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