Fennel & Mustard Rolled Pork Belly
Updated: Mar 3
If you're looking for something a little different to jazz up your Sunday Roasts, this fennel and mustard pork belly is a great place to start!
There is a delicate balance to maintain when cooking pork belly: the belly needs to be cooked low and slow to render the fat down, avoiding a greasy piece of meat; the skin needs to be roasted on a high temperature to make sure it gets crispy and crackly. I would usually stay clear of pork when ordering a roast for the reasons just mentioned - it can be hard to perfectly achieve this when cooking pork belly on mass in a pub or restaurant, that's why you should always check out a place's Instagram or reviews before you visit! This recipe ensures you get crispy crackling and that there aren't huge layers of fat in your meat.
The best way to achieve this is to roast the belly for 45 mins on a high temperature to crisp the skin, then reduce it down for a few hours. You can always place the belly under a grill after cooking to get the skin extra crispy.
Ensuring the skin is dry and finely scored, with lots of salt, is the key to getting it right!
Fennel & Mustard stuffed and rolled Pork Belly
Prep time: 20 min plus overnight marinating
Cook time: 5 hrs
Special equipment needed:
1 Pork Belly (700g will serve 2 people)
1 Fennel bulb
2 tbsp Fennel seeds
1 tbsp English Mustard
4 tbsp Olive Oil
Several twists of Cracked Black Pepper
Sea Salt - a fair amount
5 Garlic cloves
2 White Onions
300ml Cloudy Apple Juice
20g Fresh Rosemary
20g Fresh sage
2 Large Carrots
½ Celery bunch
Serve with all the traditional roast accompaniments and apple sauce
The day before cooking you need to prepare and marinate your pork belly
Take the top half of the fennel bulb - the part with the fronds, the fennel seeds, garlic, oil, mustard, salt, pepper and place into a blender to blitz into a paste
Using a very sharp knife, score the pork belly. You should break the skin but not cut fully through it and score it in a criss-cross fashion
Now you need to slice open the pork belly like a book. Keep the skin side up and cut across the belly, leaving a cm or two attached
Spread the paste evenly across the belly and begin to roll up tightly, like a swiss roll, skin on the outside. Ensure you rub plenty salt into the skin to help dry it and bring the flavours out
Tie the belly 3-4 times around to keep it tightly together and leave it in the fridge overnight, uncovered. This helps the skin to dry out so it becomes crispy crackling when cooking and marinates the meat
When you’re ready to cook the belly the next day, preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Whilst the oven is preheating, roughly chop the rest of the fennel, celery, carrots and onions and place into a casserole dish
Pour in the apple juice and sit the pork belly, skin side up, on top of the vegetables
Roast the belly for 45 minutes, until the skin has become crisp. (note: to achieve the bubbly effect of crackling, you can place the belly under a grill for 15 mins once it has fully cooked)
After 45 mins turn the oven down to 120 degrees and slowly roast the belly for 4 hours. This is so that the fat can render down. Keep checking that there is still liquid covering the veg during this time and add water if necessary
Leave the belly to rest for 20 mins before serving. You can use the veg to make a stock and gravy or discard it
You can use any kind of string which is oven safe and won't give off small fibres. If you'd like to know how to make a rich and authentic gravy give this post a like so I can get a recipe up in future!
and remember, anyone can cook!