Chinese New Year recipe

pork belly
Image by stu_spivack via Flickr

It’s January – it’s cold – and you crave deeply aromatic bowl of something soothing and spicy….it has to be a slowly braised meltingly tender pork belly. This recipe also gains brownie points as it is incredibly cheap!

(A note to supermarket shoppers – I rarely see a full pork belly on the meat shelves but generally find the in-store butcher will have one. Failing that, try your local butcher. In fact, scrub that – try your local butcher first!)

My favourite version is really very simple – most of the braising ingredients are easy to locate if they aren’t already in your cupboards.

Serve over plain noodles or steamed rice with a side serving of stir fried Chinese greens (Bok Choy) to

6 medium shallots, halved
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 x 1kg/2¼lb piece belly of pork, skin on
500ml/17fl oz dry white wine
1 tbsp five spice powder
water to cover
3 tbsp runny honey
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
2. Place the shallots and carrots in a deep roasting tray or a very deep large pan.
3. Add the wine, pork belly and five spice powder and then cover with cold water.
4. Place the lid on the pot or place a sheet of tin foil over the roasting tin to cover.
5. Place in the oven to slowly braise for 4-5 hours, until the bones can easily be separated from the meat. Remove from the oven and allow to stand and cool in the cooking liquid.
6. Turn up the oven to 220C/430F/Gas 7.
7. When the pork belly is cooled, drain off the cooking liquid. Remove the top layer of skin, leaving exposed a very thin layer of fat on the meat.
8. Using a sharp knife, score a diamond shape into the fat and rub in the honey.
9. Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the meat is cooked through, golden in colour and slightly crispy on top.
10. Sprinkle with a little Maldon salt and coarsely ground black pepper and serve hot or cold.

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About chris

The eternal optimist...
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