You really can’t go wrong with any dish that matches cider with pork. It is such a classic combination in cooking, and one that harks back to the custom many years ago for pigs to be let out to gorge on the fallen apples in order to clear the orchards. Belly is perfect for this sort of cooking – not too fatty, and thin enough to pot roast quickly and evenly. Pot -roasting in a small amount of liquid in an enclosed pan is brilliant. You will be amazed how much stock there will be at the end, making a great sauce/compote.
- 650g piece of boneless, rindless pork belly
- 2 tablespoons oil (any type will do)
- 100g chorizo or any spicy sausage, roughly chopped (optional)
- 4 large celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 large onions, very finely chopped
- 1 large Bramley apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- a few fresh sage leaves
- 1 small glass dry cider
- 1 small glass well-flavoured pork or chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
- Season the pork belly well with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a deep, ovenproof pan with a tight-fitting lid on the hob, add the chorizo, if using, and cook until the fat starts to run.
- Add the pork belly and brown well on both sides, then carefully remove from the pan, leaving the chorizo.
- Add the vegetables, apple, garlic and sage to the pan and top with the pork, then pour in the cider and stock. Bring to the boil and cover with the lid.
- Cook in the oven for 1 hour and 30–45 minutes, or until the pork is soft and well cooked – but do not overcook!
- Remove the pork from the pan and carefully chop or slice. Gently mash the veg and apples with the gravy and juices in the pan and cook on the hob until thickened slightly. Serve with the pork.