People often avoid pork belly due to its fatty reputation, but in this recipe all the fat is rendered and cooked off - leaving a succulent meat jelly, layered with delicious lean pork. Once you have tried this dish, it is certain to become a firm favourite.
The pork joint is cooked then pressed to make it easy to carve. For this reason, it can be cooked well ahead of the serving time and re-heated quickly in a microwave oven prior to serving.
1 Kg pork belly joint, skin on
1 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
Onion, carrot and celery stock veg
A slack handful of star anise
Add all the stock ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pork joint, return to the boil and simmer until the meat is tender. Remove the joint from the cooking liquor and place it skin side up in a suitable dish. Cover with foil and a flat vessel containing something weighing about 2Kg to press the joint. Allow the joint to cool under the press. When cooled the joint can be transfered to the fridge until 30 minutes before serving. Transfer the joint to a very hot oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the skin blisters into a crispy crackling. Cut into bite sized cubes before serving.
I like to serve this dish as part of a Chinese meal, usually with fried rice, a stir fried green leafy vegetable in oyster sauce and dipping sauces of English mustard, sweet chilli sauce and table soya sauce. The cubes of pork look impressive served on a plain white plate with a coriander garnish. The pork can be served chilled as an appetiser if you so wish.