Honey Glazed Cajun Pork Belly with Stewed Red Beans

Honey Glazed Cajun Pork Belly with Stewed Red Beans

Ingredients:                                                                                                     Serves 4

For the Pork Belly:

1.5Kg Pork belly

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper for seasoning

1 Tsp Cajun seasoning

2 Heads of garlic, halved horizontally

4 – 5 sprigs of thyme

Corn oil (or rapeseed oil) to drizzle

175ml White wine

4Tbsp Blossom honey

For the red bean stew:

175g pre-soaked (or tinned) red kidney beans

100g Rindless smoked streaky bacon, in one piece

1 Tbsp corn oil (or sunflower oil), if needed

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 Red bell pepper, diced

2 Sticks of celery diced

1 Red chilli deseeded and finely chopped

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp Tomato puree

1tbsp Oregano, thyme and hot smoked paprika

300ml Chicken stock

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper for seasoning

2 – 3 Tbsp chopped coriander

Garnish:

Snow pea shoots to garnish (optional)

Method:

1) Score the skin evenly in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife, taking care not to pierce through the fat. Turn the belly skin side down and season the meaty side by rubbing in salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.

2) Place the garlic, halved side up, on a lightly oiled roasting tray and scatter over the thyme sprigs. Lay the pork belly on top, fat side up. Trickle the top of the pork belly (fat-side) with a little oil and sprinkle with a little more sea salt. Add a splash of white wine around the pork, cover the meat with a piece of foil and bake for 1 ½ hours, in a pre-heated oven at 150°C

3) Remove the foil, baste the pork with the juices and return to the oven, uncovered, for another ½-1 hour until the meat is tender. Continue to baste the pork occasionally with the pan juices.

4) Transfer the pork to a clean board and leave to cool slightly. While still warm, using a very sharp knife, carefully remove the top skin of the pork belly, trying to keep it intact and place it on a cooling rack (this is going to form the crackling).

5) Place the pork in a clean tray and place another tray on top of the pork and weigh down with a few heavy tins to flatten it. Cool completely, and then chill for 4 – 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator to set its shape.

6) In the meantime, increase the temperature of the oven to 200°C. Pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Using a sharp pair of scissors cut the top skin into long wedges put the cooling rack with the crackling (pork skin) back in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until the skin is crispy and has puffed up.

7) Pour off any excess oil from the roasting tray the pork was roasted in and place over high heat. Deglaze the tray with a generous splash of white wine, scraping the bottom and crushing the heads of garlic with a wooden spoon to release the sediment. Strain the meat juices through a fine sieve, pressing down on the garlic pulp with the back of a ladle. Reserve the meat juices in the refrigerator for the stewed red bean stew.

Day 2, or 4-6 hours later…

8) Cut the bacon into 5mm dice, put into a pan and cook over a low heat until the fat begins to melt. Increase the heat a little and allow it to fry in its own fat until crisp and golden. Add the onion, celery and red peppers (and a little extra oil if it looks dry) and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft.

9) Drain the beans and add them to the pan with the stock, tomato puree and meat juices. Simmer gently until the beans are just tender and the stock is well reduced. Add the coriander, adjust seasoning and keep warm. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

10) Cut the pressed pork into four individual portions or squares. Place the pork squares, in a roasting tin and drizzle with a little oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes until it is heated through thoroughly. Remove from the oven and baste with the honey immediately – resting the pork for 5 minutes, turning and basting with the honey occasionally whilst it is resting.

11) Warm the crackling in the oven for a minute or two, taking care not to burn it.

12) Serve the pork on a bed of the stewed beans and steamed rice, garnish with pea shoots and warm crackling.

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