Crisp cider-braised pork belly

Crisp cider-braised pork belly

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 30 mins Plus pressing overnight

More effort

Serves 4
Barney Desmazery's prepare-ahead recipe for the perfect pork belly will be a sure-fire hit at your next dinner party

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal915
  • fat67g
  • saturates24g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre2g
  • protein66g
  • salt1.22g
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  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • few celery sticks, roughly chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sprig fresh thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml good-quality cider



    Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Apple orchards were…

  • small splash cider vinegar, plus extra to season
  • 1l fresh chicken stock
  • 1.2kg piece unscored boneless pork belly
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • apple mash and Mustard cabbage, to serve (see tip)



    Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…


  1. Day 1: Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Place all the ingredients except the pork and sunflower oil in a flameproof pan that will fit the pork snugly – a casserole dish is ideal. Season, bring everything to the boil then turn down the heat and slide the pork into the pan. The pork should be totally submerged – if it isn’t, top up with water. Cover the dish with a lid or tight tent of foil and place it in the oven for 3 hrs undisturbed.

  2. When the pork is cooked, leave it to cool slightly in the stock. Line a flat baking tray with cling film. Carefully lift the pork into the tray and make sure you get rid of any bits of vegetables or herbs as they will end up pressed into the pork. Cover the pork with another sheet of cling film and cover with a flat tray or dish – the tray must be completely flat as any indentations will be pressed into the pork. Weigh the pork down with another dish or some cans and leave to cool in the fridge overnight. Strain the juices into a jug or small saucepan, cover and chill.

  3. Day 2: Unwrap the pork and place on a board. Trim the uneven edges so that you have a neat sheet of meat. Cut the meat into 4 equal pieces and set aside until ready to cook. Lift off any bits of fat from the braising juices and tip what will now be jelly into a saucepan, then bubble down by about two-thirds until starting to become slightly syrupy. Add a few more drops of vinegar, to taste.

  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan until hot, then turn the heat down. Add the pork to the pan, skin-side down – be careful as it has a tendency to spit. Sizzle the pork as you would bacon for 5 mins until the skin is crisp. Flip it over and cook for 3-4 mins until browned. Place a small pile of cabbage on the side of each plate and sit a piece of pork on top. Place a spoonful of mash on the other side of the plate, drizzle over the sauce and serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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23rd Aug, 2013
This was lovely...well worth the effort and looked exactly as the picture. Family very impressed, will definitely make again. Slight problem crisping the skin but a few minutes under the grill at the last minute finished it off perfectly. Served with wholegrain mustard mash and buttered greens with apple sauce on the side.
28th Apr, 2013
I made this for my husband at his request; he had the same meal at a restaurant and loved it. Everything turned out beautifully, and I agree with all who say that this is a fantastic way to prepare pork belly. It was tender and delicious. I prepared the full meal as suggested, with mustard cabbage and apple mash. The flavours worked beautifully together. I can see this becoming a regular treat meal for us.
22nd Feb, 2013
This is fantastic! the pork was meltingly tender and full of flavour. In fact mine looked exactly as the photo and everyone was raving about it. I have to make it again!! I served it with boiled potatoes and GoodFood warm roasted cauliflower salad - again a smash hit with our guests. 5* for sure
24th Jan, 2013
ChefDom - thanks for that advice. I'm cooking it twice over the next few weeks so hopefully it'll work out!
24th Nov, 2012
going to try this, Can someone tell me how much stock it is please
14th Jun, 2012
I did this a couple of weeks ago for 4 very hungry boys who are really into their food. I was nervous about it but it worked out so well, it was the best pork belly I have ever done and they were seriously impressed. I also served it with potato mash and added a couple of drops of truffle oil to it - the earthy flavour works really well with the pork and the mustard cabbage! This is definitely my go to pork belly recipe from now on!
27th Jul, 2011
Hey nic, This is often a problem for many and i dont feel the process if often explain properly in recipes. My advice is to place the belly pork into a cold pan and bring up to a very light sizzle. You are tring to render the fat from the pork, the fat will start to break down from as low as 60 deg C so go slow and gentle and ignore the 4min time scale. The browning process will naturally occure even at lower tempatures as sugars within the pork fat start to caramelize. If you feel the fat is still soft and it is colouring too quickly drop the temp down or allternatively start in a pan and finish in a hot oven. When i cook belly pork it is cooked sous vide at 62 deg C for 24hrs then pressed and pan roast to finish. Hope that helps a little
18th May, 2011
Forgot to rate....
18th May, 2011
Made this Monday night - the pork was amazing and so tender it you only needed a fork to 'cut' it! However the problem i had was with the 'crisp' crackling! It seemed to just burn rather than crisp up which was really annoying as this is my favourite part usually! I never have problems with crackling on roasts and followed the recipe exactly (oil wasnt too hot) yet along with getting hot fat spat all over me i ended up with black hard crackling...any tips please??
4th Apr, 2011
No, I've now done it three times and have used scored pork twice - it doesn't make any difference that I've noticed apart from making it easier to cut!


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