With snow present in most of South Africa this morning, it’s only fair that I share one of my ultimate roast recipes with you. This pork belly roast is not only delicious and comforting, but it also has serious wow-factor and will impress your guests to no end.
The apple & sage stuffing is subtle and adds a quiet hum of flavour to the rich pork. I didn’t want to add breadcrumbs like you would with most stuffings as I didn’t want to add any heaviness. I wanted it there purely to flavour the pork and this is exactly what it did. I also loved how the sweet, almost tangy apple stuffing cut through the richness of the pork.
The pork belly I used was a supermarket buy simply because I didn’t have time to visit my butcher. Try to get a nice big pork belly which will up the cooking time but will feed more, obviously. This belly was relatively small (which is what I find with most supermarket pork bellies). Tell your butcher you want to stuff and roll the pork belly and ask him to trim it accordingly. Also ask him for some butcher’s string, they are usually very generous with this type of thing.
I served the pork belly with cauliflower cheese and a simple green salad and every mouthful tasted of comfort and home, if you know what I mean. Just perfect for this insanely icy weather we’re experiencing at the moment.
- 4 granny smith apples, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 2 T fresh sage, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1.5kg (3.31 pounds) pork belly
- salt & pepper (I used smoked salt)
- 2 T olive oil
- 4 red onions, quartered
- handful fresh sage leaves
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
- To make the apple stuffing, fry the apples and onion in a splash of olive oil until golden brown.
- Add the garlic and sage and allow to fry for another minute before adding the apple cider vinegar.
- Season to taste and set aside.
- Season the pork belly and place the apple stuffing on one edge (lay the pork belly on the counter in front of you). Carefully roll the pork belly and secure with string.
- Any left-over stuffing can be placed around the pork belly with the red onions in the roasting tray.
- Drizzle the pork belly with olive oil and season with more salt and pepper.
- Place the pork belly in the oven.
- Allow to roast for 30 minutes at 200°c before turning down the heat to 160°c. Allow to roast for another 2 hours. (I like to check the belly every 30 minutes or so to make sure the onions and apples aren’t burning. If it seems like the roasting dish is too dry, you can add a cup of water/apple juice)
- After 2 hours, remove the belly from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving with the caramelised apples and onions from the roasting tray.