The Hairy Biker’s tasty roast belly of pork recipe is cooked with sage and apple for extra flavour – a perfect Sunday lunch option. This recipe serves 4-5 people and will take around 3hrs to slow cook this cut of meat. It’s well worth the wait! The sweetness of the apple and tangy flavour from the onion really brings this belly of pork to life. Smother with gravy and serve this tender piece of meat with roast potatoes, heaps of veg and a Yorkshire pudding or two! It’s a Hairy Bikers classic your whole family will love. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days but of course with most meat based recipes its best to eat this tender cut of meat on the day its made and cooked for the best flavour.
- 1.5kg pork belly, deeply scored
- 2tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2tsp sea salt flakes
- 1tsp coarsely ground black pepper, plus extra to season
- 3 medium apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into thick slices
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- A good handful of fresh sage leaves
- 2tsp plain flour
- 200ml cider
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 240°C (gas mark 9). Place the pork on a board and pat the rind dry with kitchen paper if it feels at all damp. Mix the thyme with the salt and pepper and rub this seasoning mixture into the pork rind and the underside of the pork.
Place the pork in a sturdy roasting tin or flameproof baking tray and roast for 25–30 mins. This will give the rind a chance to bubble and become really crisp. Turn the oven down to 180°C (gas mark 4) and continue roasting for another hour.
Toss the apples with the onions, whole sage leaves and a few twists of black pepper. Make a compact pile in the centre of a clean, smallish roasting tin. When ready, remove the pork from the oven and place it on top of the apples and onions. Keep the first roasting tin to one side because you’ll need the cooking juices to make the gravy. Return the pork to the oven and cook for a further hour until the meat is really succulent and tender.
Take the first roasting tin, skim off any fat from the cooking juices and place the tin over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the cider and 100ml of water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3-4 mins, while stirring. Strain through a sieve into a small saucepan and season to taste. Set aside.
When the pork is cooked, transfer it to a carving board. Scoop up the apple and onion with a large spoon and place in a warmed serving bowl. Reheat the cider gravy until bubbling and cut the pork into thick slices. Serve the pork and crackling with the apple and sage and the hot gravy.
Top tip: When cooking the pork, keep the apple and onion pieces snugly underneath the meat so they don’t burn.