Don't believe me? Watch this video. The only thing this dish really requires is patience.
I should probably consider re-naming this site to read something along the lines of the lazy girl's guide to cooking things that look somewhat impressive but really require very little effort or energy.
Truth is, this dinner only came about because they ran out of beef short rib at Cold Storage, and I was left scrambling at the eleventh hour trying to find a main dish that would (1) feed 6 or more (2) require little or no work on my part (3) look somewhat presentable without excessive plating and (4) not be another variation of roast chicken. This lovely roll of pork belly seemed like just the ticket.
I won't even bother giving you detailed instructions, just buy the ingredients (1kg of rolled pork belly and roasting vegetables for the bottom of the pan) and watch Scott Rea's video. You really can't mess it up if you listen to the man. But a couple of things you should pay particular attention to:
- Scoring. It's important. It's not exactly pleasant, but you'll really get the flavours of the seasoning deep into the skin (I used a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano and thyme) and throughout the body if you coat the roast thoroughly.
- When he says crisp the skin first, he means it. You want to start roasting at the highest heat imaginable to get that skin to crisp. I pre-heated the oven and put the pork belly (skin up) in the oven at a scorching 250°C for about 20-25 minutes before lowering it to 170-175°C for the remaining oven time.
- Ventilation. Scott used vegetables to prop up the roast, I had the benefit of a proper roasting rack. Whichever method you use, don't skip this step. It's important to ensure the bottom of the pork roll isn't squashed against the pan as it will overheat and dry out. You want it resting gently on the vegetables (or rack) so the meat is cooked by the hot air in the oven, and not the hot metal surface of the pan.
Listen to Scott and in about 3 hours you'll have the most juicy, succulent and tender pork belly.
The hardest part about making this dish is having the patience to wait for it to be ready, and the willpower to resist eating other things when the heady aroma of slow roasted pork permeates the whole house for three. whole. hours.
Part of me thinks that the torture of the long wait makes the roast that much tastier.
Happy cooking during the holidays! This one is sure to win over friends and family!