I first saw this on stonesoup, and originally asked my sister to cook it for me next time I was to visit. You see, she is the much better cook when it comes to all those slow cooked, hearty comfort foods. And her oven has temperature settings.
Then came the first Saturday of Spring. I had plans to get up early and head to the Grower's Markets... but mother nature had other plans. It was just raining so much that day that I rolled over and went back to sleep. Click here to see what a much braver foodie discovered by braving the rain that day!
So what else to do on a really rainy stay inside day? Slow cooked roast of course! I huddled under my umbrella to go to the butcher (admittedly the only time I stepped outside all day!) and buy my first ever pork belly. I had the butcher score the skin, remove all bones, and he also cut a pocket into the inside of the belly so that my stuffing wouldn't fall out when I rolled it up. He was then nice enough to supply some kitchen string for trussing as well.
Home again, and I attempted to not ruin this beautiful piece of meat. The first step was to roast some garlic in it's skin... and I promptly managed to explode a clove in my oven. And I mean explode - it must have burst into a million tiny pieces. Note to self - cut small slit in garlic skin before roasting! 30 mins of oven cooling and scrubbing later (my kitchen is tiny, and the oven is in an awkward place for cleaning - especially when hot), I was ready to go again.
I stuffed, trussed, oiled and salted the belly, sliced the onion and into the oven it went. The recipe says to start with the oven at 250C then reduce to 160C. Now, since I have no oven markings, the only exact temperature I am able to get is 200C (straight down) and I have almost figured out 180C (bake much?) Everything seemed to be going along nicely, until I realised that I had waited too long to put my potatoes in the oven. Of course, 160C is pretty low for roasting potatoes, so they would need longer than usual, but I hadn't factored this in.
And then there was the blackened burnt stuff on the bottom of the pan that was supposed to be cooking juices. I was hoping to use these to make a quick sauce whilst the meat was resting, but no, there was no juice to be seen.
Aside from this, (and the slightly underdone potatoes) this turned out to be a perfect rainy day dinner. I will admit to eating WAY too much, but being very glad for it! I served it with spinach and peas cooked with white wine, which I will post the recipe of later.
Visit the stonesoup for the recipe and a lot of drool-worthy photos.
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