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Perfect Pork Belly with Vanilla Verjuice

  • Preparation Time: 10 mins
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cooking Time: 120 mins
  • Ready Time: 130 mins
  • Cooking Method: Slow Cook
  • Difficulty: easy

1.5 kg piece of friendly farmed Pork Belly
1/2 cup of Sea Salt
2 Tbsp smoked Paprika
4 Star Anise, crushed
2 Tbsp Fennel seeds, crushed
3 fresh Bay leaves
200 ml Verjuice
1 Vanilla Pod

Score the skin of the belly as finely as you can, being careful not to pierce the flesh.

In a container large enough to hold the belly, put the salt, paprika, star anise, fennel seed and bay leaves.
Pour in enough cold water to cover the belly and whisk it to dissolve the salt.
Place the Pork Belly in the brine skin side down, and leave to soak for at least 24 hours (and up to 36 hours).

To roast, remove the belly from the brine, rinse and pat dry – very dry.
Leave it out to reach room temp and keep swabbing with paper towels. The drier the better.

Place vanilla pod and verjuice in a pot and simmer gently to infuse. Remove pod!

Place the belly on a rack in a roasting tray flesh side down and add Vanilla infused Verjuice and roast in an oven at 140°C for about 2 hours.
Timing will depend on the thickness of the belly but it will take at least two hours.
You will know it is ready when a fork pushed into the flesh comes away easily.

When the belly is cooked increase oven temp to 200°C and leave for an additional 10 minutes.
Keep an eye on the pork as the crackling goes crispy but do not let it burn.

Recipe inspired by expat NZ chef Anna Hansen’s recipe from her book ‘The Modern Pantry’.

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