Start cooking the pork early, not only will this have those wonderful aromas escaping from the kitchen but the pork will be soft, juicy and the crackling crispy and tasty and the family will LOVE you for that.
Instead of serving with an apple compote or sauce, I have often served it will roasted plums which blend very well with the fennel seeds and the ginger and it will also be delicious sliced into thick strips and served while watching the match with a pint of artisan beer!
For the fennel and chilli rub
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp sea salt
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2cm ginger, grated
2 tbsp brown sugar
1.2kg boneless pork belly, skin scored
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 lemons, juice only
For the sweet potatoes
2cm ginger, sliced into fine julienne
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in 2cm pieces
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for about 30 seconds. Grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar with the sea salt and garlic. Transfer to a small bowl and add the chilli, ginger and brown sugar to the fennel and garlic mix. Retain 2 tsp to sprinkle over the top at the end of the cooking time.
- Rub the fennel and chilli mix over the skin of the pork belly and allow the flavours to develop for a few hours or even overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 5.
- When ready to cook, heat a little extra virgin olive oil into a roasting pan, place the pork belly in the pan, rub the skin with salt and extra virgin olive oil. Roast the meat for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 180°C/fan160°C/Gas 4. Mix the brown sugar with lemon juice and drizzle over pork. Return the meat to the oven and roast for a further 1hour and 30 minutes, basting from time to time.
- In the meantime, drizzle a large roasting pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, heat the pan for 2 minutes in the oven. Add the sweet potatoes and the ginger julienne and toss well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning from time to time. Once cooked, remove from the oven and keep warm.
- Increase the heat to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas7 and roast for a further 15 minutes to finish the crackling, keeping an eye on it. Sprinkle over the 2 tsp of chilli and ginger mix that was retained. Allow to rest for 10 minutes in a warmer. Carve into thick slices and serve with the ginger sweet potatoes.