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Belly of pork with braised fennel 

added on 21/8/2010 by DaveThis pork is straight from one of Jamie's books and is an interesting way of cooking belly of pork - it's quite fresh and zingy.

Ingredients

  • Pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 fennel bulbs
  • Bunch of thyme
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Bottle of white wine

Method

  1. Score the skin of the pork belly using a sharp knife, about 1cm apart (often they're like this, but I normally add some extra scores myself)
  2. Toast the fennel seeds and grind in a pestle and mortar; add a good pinch of salt
  3. Rub a little olive oil into the skin and then rub the fennel and salt mixture into all the gaps
  4. Chop up the fennel bulbs into quarters and arrange in a roasting tray
  5. Sprinkle over a good handful of thyme leaves, the garlic cloves and a splash of olive oil - toss to combine
  6. Add the pork the roasting tray and place in a hot oven for 20 minutes. This should kick start the crackling. You could leave it for 30 minutes if it doesn't look crisp.
  7. Turn down the oven to 170C and cook for a further hour
  8. Add the white wine to the tray and return to the oven for a further hour
  9. Take the fennel out and put the pork back in for a final hour. Keep an eye on the liquid level - if it evapourates then add some water.
  10. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes and reduce the liquid to make a light gravy
  11. I like to serve with new potatoes and simple green veg to keep it light

Notes

The tricky bit is getting the skin to crisp. Heating the oven to 250C (basically as hot as it will go) and cooking for 20 to 30 minutes at the start helps. I still haven't 100% nailed this though; sometimes it doesn't quite work. Any tips gratefully accepted!