New Zealand expert Annabel Langbein has a simple and easy recipe for pork belly that is simple and works every time.
Watch the crackling carefully and tap it in the middle with the back of a spoon to check if it is done (the edges will harden up faster) – if it makes a hard sound, it’s done.
This is a great idea for dinner parties as it’s easy to prepare and only requires carving at the last minute. It is delicious at room temperature if you prefer to do it ahead of time.
- 1-1.2kg pork belly, skin scored
- ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-3 sage leaves
- 2-2½ cups milk
Pat the skin of the meat dry and season the flesh side with pepper and half the salt. Sprinkle the sage leaves on the bottom of a metal baking dish (do not use a glass baking dish as it might shatter when you add the milk) and put the pork on top, skin side up. Season the top with the remaining salt.
Put in the fridge for a couple of hours to rest.
Preheat oven to 240˚C.
When the oven is hot, place the roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the skin is starting to blister and crackle. Watch closely for burning.
Pour the milk around the meat to come about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pork. Reduce the heat to 160˚C and roast for a further 1½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender. Check the level of liquid during cooking and if it has evaporated add a little more to the pan.
Remove the pork from the oven, lift it out of the dish and allow it to cool. Discard the liquids (they will break into curds).
For easy cutting, place the meat flesh side up on a chopping board and use a heavy, sharp knife to cut it into slices about 3-4cm thick.