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Dinner Party, Pork

Crisp Cider Braised Pork Belly

I had my parents coming over for Sunday lunch this weekend and so I wanted to do something a bit special. My Dad’s always telling me how he struggles to get pork juicy so what else could I do but a nice piece of crispy pork belly. Also, I didn’t want to be cooking for the whole time they were here which meant I was looking for a ‘prepare ahead’ recipe.

The one I found was on the BBC GoodFood website and was created by Barney Desmazery. You can find the original recipe here.


  • 1 large carrot , roughly chopped
  • 1 onion , roughly chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , smashed
  • Sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml good-quality cider
  • Small splash cider vinegar , plus extra to season
  • 1 litre fresh chicken stock
  • 1.2kg piece unscored boneless pork belly
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method of Preparation:

  1. Day 1: Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas 4. Place all the ingredients except the pork and sunflower oil in a flame proof pan that will fit the pork snugly – a casserole dish is ideal. Season, bring everything to the boil then turn down the heat and slide the pork into the pan. The pork should be totally submerged – if it isn’t, top up with hot water. Cover the dish with a lid or tight tent of foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours undisturbed.
  2. When the pork is cooked, leave it to cool slightly in the stock. Line a flat baking tray with cling film. Carefully lift the pork into the tray and make sure you get rid of any bits of vegetables or herbs as they will end up pressed into the pork. Cover the pork with another sheet of cling film and cover with a flat tray or dish – the tray must be completely flat as any indentations will be pressed into the pork. Weigh the pork down with another dish or some cans and leave to cool in the fridge overnight. Strain the juices into a jug or small saucepan, cover and chill.
  3. Day 2: Unwrap the pork and place on a board. Trim the uneven edges so that you have a neat sheet of meat. Cut the meat into 4 equal pieces and set aside until ready to cook. Lift off any bits of fat from the braising juices and tip what will now be jelly into a saucepan, then bubble down by about two-thirds until starting to become slightly syrupy. Add a few more drops of vinegar, to taste.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan until hot, then turn the heat down. Add the pork to the pan, skin-side down – be careful as it has a tendency to spit. Sizzle the pork as you would bacon for 5 mins until the skin is crisp. Flip it over and cook for 3-4 mins until browned.

WOW! This was delicious, the pork just fell away from itself with minimal pressure and the sauce was just divine.

In all its glory!

In all its glory!

Things to think about before you even attempt this recipe are: Have you got something suitable to use to press the pork? (I used a chopping board with my granite pestle and mortar on top) Have you got room in the fridge to store it overnight? (It took a lot of rearranging but I got there in the end)

If you’re comfortable with answering both of those questions then go for it because it really is good. The recipe suggests what to serve the pork with so I’ve broken it down into two more posts and you can find them under Mustard Cabbage and Apple Mash.

Even Dad looked happy :-)

Even Dad looked happy 🙂



  1. Pingback: Mustard Cabbage « recipetests - December 3, 2012

  2. Pingback: Apple Mash « recipetests - December 3, 2012

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