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Jason Atherton - Chef Patron, Pollen Street Social

Twenty-four Hour Pork Belly

with fermented apple, seeds and nuts and a beer sauce


For the pork belly:

  • 500g pork belly
  • 4 litres duck fat
  • 20g miso paste

For the salt cure and pork floss:

  • 30g sel rose
  • 70g Maldon sea salt, plus a little for the pork floss
  • 5 star anise, crushed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 15 cloves, crushed
  • a handful of thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

For the pork beer sauce:

  • 500g pork trimmings
  • 4 banana shallots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • half a head of garlic
  • a handful of thyme
  • a small bay leaf
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 25ml sherry vinegar
  • half a bottle of white wine
  • 1 x 330 ml can English ale
  • 50ml malt barley syrup
  • 1 litre brown chicken stock

To serve:

  • extra virgin olive oil

For the fermented apple purée:

  • 500g Granny Smith apples
  • 10g fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 250g butter

For the seed and nut mix:

  • 100g Puy lentils
  • 100g pearled spelt grains
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 30g sesame seeds
  • 30g hazelnuts
  • 30g sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • a splash of soy sauce
  • Maldon sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a little extra virgin olive oil

To serve:

  • buttered spring cabbage

Serves 4

Twenty-four Hour Pork Belly

Remove the skin from the pork belly and set it to one side. Mix the sel rose, Maldon salt, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves together well and rub them all over the belly, then put the belly in a dish, cover and put it in the fridge overnight, along with the skin. Preheat the oven to 85°C/185°F. Put 3 litres of the duck fat in a large casserole, add the belly and confit it for 18 hours. Then remove it from the confit, press it gently and chill it for a further 8 hours.

Prepare the pork floss. At the same time as you are confiting the belly, confit the skin separately in a litre of the duck fat infused with the thyme, garlic and some more Maldon salt until it is well over-cooked. Remove the skin from the confit and allow it to cool down on a rack so excess fat drains away. Once the skin is cool, put it onto a baking tray and dehydrate it in the oven at a low temperature until it is very dry; this will take several hours. Dry the skin further on paper, and keep changing it; this will help the process and dry the skin as much as possible. Once it is dry, increase the oven temperature to the maximum possible, season the skin well and put it into the oven on a tray until very well puffed up. Then dry it out again, once more as much as possible, and blend it in a Thermomix (or pulse it, in stages, in a heavy-duty spice grinder) until you have a fine powder.

Make the sauce. Using a very large pan over a medium heat, colour the pork trimmings and chopped shallots in the olive oil. Then deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar. Add the white wine, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf, and reduce the liquid to a syrupy consistency. Add the beer and reduce it down again – skim the surface well. Then add the malt barley syrup and reduce again. Finally, add the stock and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, skimming as before, and cook the sauce out for 30 minutes. Pass it through a fine sieve and chill.

Peel the apples and slice them thinly; put them in a large sealable bag. Blitz the yeast, lemon juice and sugar and add them to the apple. Then seal the bag and leave it in a warm place for 30 minutes. Remove the apple mixture and sweat it rapidly in the butter until tender, then blend the mixture until smooth – a hand blender is ideal. Pass it through a sieve into a bowl, check the seasoning and keep it warm. Discard the apple which remains in the sieve.

A short while before you are ready to serve, prepare the seed and nut mix. Rinse the Puy lentils and check them over for small stones. Put three times their volume of water in a pan. Then add the lentils, spelt grains, carrot, celery and onion and bring to the boil; reduce the heat and cook until tender. Toast the pumpkin and sesame seeds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds in a dry pan, then add the ground coriander seeds and a splash of soy sauce, and stir well. Season with the Maldon salt and sugar. Drain the lentils and spelt, and mix in the seed and nut mixture. Check the seasoning, and serve immediately, adding a little olive oil just beforehand.

Cut the pork belly into four portions. Just before serving, glaze the pork bellies with a mixture of 100ml of the sauce and 20g miso, mixed well together, and reheat them in a warm oven. Reheat the sauce and split it with some extra virgin olive oil. Divide the apple purée between the serving plates, and place the pork belly to one side. Add some of the lentil and seed mixture, then pour some sauce around the dish. Scatter some pork floss over it and serve, accompanied with buttered spring cabbage.

  • ©2018. Maldon Crystal Salt Co.