Dear Pork Belly,
I am so, so sorry that I mistook you for ribs and almost put you in the crockpot. That would have been a tremendous waste of your delicious, fatty, crispy potential.
Thankfully, all’s well that end’s well, and with a little help from Jamie Oliver, we fully realized your potential. And then we ate you.
Thanks again for the noms!
Remember this pork?
How did I get out of my initial pork quandary? A quick search for “how to cook skin on pork belly” led me to Jamie Oliver’s “Pork Belly Roast” recipe. I followed the general guidelines, with some course corrections midway through as I realized he was working with a lot more pork (in one intact piece) than I was. I was worried this would end up being a chewy, rubbery disaster….and it ended up being one of those knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark-holy-s*-I-am-totally-awesome-dear-husband-pat-me-on-the-back-for-how-fabulous-I-am meals. You know, pretty typical, really.
See that nice thick layer of fat and the attached skin just waiting to become crispy cracklings? Sadly, you can’t get skin-on pork at most butcher counters. So, it can be a little intimidating to work with at first. Now that I know the crispy, fatty, bliss-inducing payoff, I weep a little on the inside when I see the flayed bellies in their glass case.
Pork Belly Roast
Prep: 5 minutes
Cooking time: ~2.5 hours (active cooking: about 15 min)
- Skin on pork belly (I probably had ~1.5#, in 4 pieces)
- Kosher salt & black pepper
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered
- 1 medium celery stick, halved
- 5 cloves of garlic, skin on (but excess skin removed)
- ~1 T. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 c. chicken broth
1. Preheat your oven to 435. Using a sharp knife, score the pork skin (I used kitchen shears and did a haphazard job. This was tough and I just wanted to get it done quickly). Rub salt in the wounds and apply salt and pepper to the meat side as well. Place pork skin side up in a pan and put in the oven until skin begins to puff up (~24-30 minutes)
2. Once your crackling has started to crackle, turn the oven down to 350 and continue roasting for 50-60 minutes.
3. After 50-60 minutes, take your pork out and toss your root vegetables in the rendered pork fat. Then nestle the pork back into the veggie layer and continue roasting for another 50-60 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven. Place the pork on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm and place the veggies aside (I could not stop eating the fatty, salty roasted veggies. SO GOOD). Drain the rendered fat into a container to use later. Then place the pan directly on a stove (don’t be scared!) and add the chicken broth. Heat over medium/medium-high and scrape up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let cook until it is at your desired thickness. Congratulations on your pork gravy.
To round out the meal, I popped some home fries in the oven and sauteed kale with the rendered fat, the roasted red onions, and the roasted garlic. The carrots never had a chance and were into my mouth the moment they cooled off (the celery went into the “food recycle” aka the compost).
Set the table…
And an attempted close up at the main event: crispy, crackly skin. It kind of looks like an attempt at a soft-focus lens photo of the pork, but more likely my phone is just greasy from sticking it into too many frying pans lately in an attempt to take “nice” food pictures!