Roast pork belly with fennel

I have a confession to make. I love pork belly. There are few things in life that awakens the taste buds like a crunchy crackling serving of juicy pork belly. Let’s get into it…
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Ingredients
1.3kg pork belly roast
4 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tbsp maldon or himalyan salt
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves garlic
200ml white wine
squeeze lemon juice

Method
For extra crispy crackling I like to make sure the pork belly is washed and patted dry. Score the skin with a sharp kitchen knife in either a diamond pattern or thin horizontal lines. Put it in a glass tray, with another one on top, weighted down with two cans or any other heavy weight. This ensures a relatively even thickness of the pork belly. Keep it in the fridge over night.

Preheat the oven to 220C

Chop the rosemary leaves, pepper, lemon zest and salt. Rub the pork all over with the oil before rubbing the herb and salt mixture into the skin, pushing it in between the scored lines. Place the pork onto a rack in a roasting tin, skin-side up, and cook for 40 minutes or until the skin starts to puff and crisp at the edges.

In the meantime, remove the stalks of the fennel (keep the fronds). Slice the bulb into thin wedges. Flatten the garlic and remove the peel, leaving the cloves whole. Cut the carrots into quarters.

Remove the pork belly from the oven and turn the oven down to 160C. Lift the rack and add the fennel, garlic, carrots and wine to base of the roasting tin and coat with any of the pork fat drippings. Set the rack with pork back on top. Return the tray to the oven and roast for a a further hour at 160C.

Remove the fennel and carrots from the oven, squeeze over some of the lemon juice, set aside and keep warm.

Turn the oven back up to 200C. Cook the pork for another 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisped up to your liking.

Remove te pork belly, rest for 5-10 minutes and slice. Serve with fennel and carrots, sprinkling over the chopped reserved fennel fronds for garnish (optional).

You’ll love it so much, you’ll probably lick the plates clean while wishing you had bought a larger pork roast. So next time, get a 3kg roast and double the recipe. Trust me on this.

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