Need some inspiration to wow your guests? This delicious recipe is a little bit different – and so tasty!
Serves: 4-6 (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Preparation time: 6-24 hr
Cooking time: 12min, plus 10min cooling time
- Strain the prunes, separating the juice into a large jar with a lid for the marinade. Set the prunes to one side for now while you make the marinade for the pork. Peel and crush (or mince) your garlic and add to the juice, along with the vinegar and a little oil. Mix together the Chinese five-spice, fennel, and salt and pepper. Add most of this seasoning to the marinade jar, keeping a little to one side. Screw the lid on tightly to the jar, and shake well to mix and emulsify the marinade. Pop the pork into the smallest food-safe sealable bag or container that will hold it, and pour three-quarters of the marinade carefully all over. Refrigerate for 6-24hr, but no longer.
- When it’s time to cook the pork, remove it from the fridge and leave for 20min to come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 210oC, Gas Mark 6 (oven temperature may vary) ensuring there is a shelf in the middle of it or just below. Transfer the pork to the small roasting dish and pour over the marinade to just below where the top fat layer starts. Rub the remaining salt-and-spice marinade onto the exposed fat. Pop the pork belly in for 10-12min to crisp the fat to crackling. Turn the heat down to 140oC, Gas Mark 1 and cook for a further 90min. Note, oven temperature may vary so do check your dish every now and again.
- Place a wire cooling rack on top of a roasting tray or baking tray with sides for when the pork is ready. Remove from the oven and place each piece on the wire rack to rest for 10min before serving.
- Using the leftover juices combine this with 1tbsp each of oil (or butter) and flour in a small saucepan over a low heat. Gradually add the juices, stirring the whole time, and thin with a little stock or water as desired. Taste and season, and serve hot – it will thicken as it cools
- For the chutney: while the pork is marinating, it’s time to make the accompanying chutney. De-stone the prunes by gently squeezing them – the stones should pop right out. Discard the stones, and pop the prunes into a medium saucepan. Peel and halve, then very finely slice your onion and celery. Add to the pan along with the remaining marinade, and an extra tablespoon of vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the veg is very soft. You may need to add a splash of water here and there, so keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t dry out, but it should take around 25min. Remove from the heat and transfer to a clean jar, screw the lid on while it’s hot, and leave to cool completely, before labelling and popping in the fridge.
Tip 1: When adding the fennel you can either use a large heavy knife or crush it in a pestle and mortar, or leaving it whole works fine, too.
Tip 2: If you’re planning on keeping the chutney for longer than a fortnight, you should use a sterilised jar.
Tip 3: If you don’t want to use the left-over juices to make a gravy, you can use them as the base for a casserole or stew with any leftover pork, beans and root vegetables – it’s far too good to waste!