Slow-Cooked Belly of Pork
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First prepare the dry cure – this is a mixture of 890g of rock sea salt, 50g of castor sugar, 8g of pink salt, 30g of cracked black pepper and 20g of finely-crushed juniper berries.
Preparing the belly - bone the belly if it has not already been boned– spread the dry-cure mixture (prepared above) on a tray, top with thyme, bay leaves and one whole garlic and place the belly on top.
Cover the belly with a thin layer of dry cure mixture. Leave in the fridge for 12 hours.
Rinse the belly in cold water to remove all of the salt / the dry cure. Rinse the bay leaves and thyme.
Place the belly in a baking tray with the rinsed thyme, bay leaves and garlic.
Completely cover the belly with pork fat.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 100 degrees C - the temperature of the belly itself should not exceed 85 degrees (the temperature can be tested with a probe thermometer). Depending on the size of the belly, it should cook between six and eight hours. If the belly is properly cooked, it should give way gently when touched (no resistance).
Remove the belly from the oven and leave it to cool. When it is at room temperature (which should be within one and a half hours) remove it and place on greaseproof paper on a tray. Place another layer of greaseproof on top. Place a chopping board on top and (depending on the size of the belly) between 5kg and 10kg of weight on top. Place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Cut to the size required and pan-fry very gently in pork fat, turning on each side, with the skin last, until it is gently crisp all over. Avoid burning.
Before the belly is quite cooked, add chopped shallots to the frying pan and fry with the belly. Remove the belly (but not the shallots) and add veal stock to the pan. The combination of the stock, shallots and the meat juices in the pan will make a “demi-glace”. Pour over the belly. Sprinkle a little chopped chives and serve with a garnish of mashed potatoes, Puy lentils, red cabbage, sauerkraut or chips.
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