Cooking for a hungry crowd never has to be a “whole thing” with this fantastic collection of recipes from Scottish food writer Flora Shedden. Freshen up your dinner party repertoire or simply add a new favorite to your weeknight meal lineup. This slow roast pork belly with mustard mash may become a special occasion favorite.
Pork belly is such a cheap and versatile cut of meat, but it needs to be looked after.
I know plenty of people that will avoid it on a menu simply because they have had a badly cooked fatty slab of it years ago. “Low and slow” is the trick with all fattier cuts, and the same applies here. By cooking the meat on top of the apple and onions, they caramelize at a slower rate and make the meat sweeter at the same time. This is perfect for feeding a larger crowd, as it is both time- and cost-effective, and will fill up even the hungriest of guests on a cold, dark winter’s night.
- 2 apples
- 2 red onions
- 2 banana shallots or 1 large white onion
- Few sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 3 pounds 5 ounces pork belly
- olive oil
- 1 pound 9 ounces King Edward Potatoes, peeled
- Scant 1/2 cup milk
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon plain flour, if necessary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pork
Preheat the oven to the highest possible setting.
Core both apples and chop into eighths. Cut the onions into similar-sized wedges. Mix together with the thyme and arrange the mixture in the centre of a roasting tray in a rectangle that’s roughly the same size as your pork belly piece.
Score long slashes into the top of the pork belly, leaving a space of ½–¾ inch between each slash and cutting into the first layer of meat, not any deeper. Season liberally with salt and pepper, then lay the meat on top of the apples and onions. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then roast for 20–25 minutes until the top of the pork belly is crisp and golden.
Reduce the oven temperature to 275ºF and cook for a further 3-4 hours. Every hour or so, you might want to mix up the onions and apple to prevent any on the outside from burning.
About 30 minutes before the meat is cooked, put the potatoes into a deep saucepan. Cover with water, bring the water to the boil and boil the potatoes for 25–30 minutes, depending on their size, until cooked through. Drain, then add the milk and butter to the pan. Mash roughly, then add the mustards and nutmeg. Stir in well, then season to taste.
Once the meat is cooked, transfer it to a plate to rest in a warm place.
Pour the cooking juices from the roasting tray into a saucepan with the white wine, reserving the apples and onions. Bring to the boil and reduce to the consistency of gravy – you may need to thicken the mixture a little by using the plain flour. Serve the meat with the apples and onions, mustard mash and a generous helping of the gravy.