I had some apples that weren’t getting eaten so the logical thing is to make pork belly with apple sauce for dinner. Don’t question it. Just go with it.
I’ve always had a some problems with crackling. I can’t seem to do it properly. At least, I couldn’t before. It was either too soft or I accidentally forgot about and it became charcoal. One of my bosses suggested that I get a creme brûlée torch for crackling but I didn’t like the way it tasted. It had this borderline charcoal taste.
Well, it would seem that I have finally got the crackling thing down.
I always knew that you should rub salt on the skin to dehydrate it but I never thought about grinding down the sea salt into a finer powder so that it’d stick to the pork better. I ground the sea salt with a some pink peppercorns and dried sage. I also smushed a couple cloves of garlic to put under the belly.
I went with Jamie Oliver’s recipe from Cook With Jamie as a base for my pork belly. He braised fennel under the pork. I don’t think I’d do that ’cause quite a bit of fat cooks out of pork belly.
Think I’ll be going with his method of “highest heat for 10 minutes, then 170°C (I went with 150ºC) for an hour”. The best thing about pork belly is that you can overcook it and it’s still juicy because you’d just be rendering out the fat.
I know that I can probably keep the drippings for Momofuku pork buns but I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
As for the apple sauce, just peel and core a few apples. Chop them up into smaller pieces, add some lemon juice, a splash of water and cook till the apples are tender. Before I got a stick blender (SUBMERSION blender. I call it as I see fit.) I used to use a potato masher. It was a lumpier apple sauce but still delicious. I add brown sugar to taste. Cinnamon is also nice in the apple sauce. I kept it a bit tart because it helps with the greasiness of the pork belly.
Garlic-y mash and brussel sprouts to go with the pork.
We have some buns in the freezer from my first pork bun experience. Think I might defrost some to go with the leftover pork belly for tomorrow’s dinner.