Slow cooked belly pork with creamy lentils

Monday, November 24, 2008
Slow cooked belly pork is a long standing dish on the Benson family repertoire - which dates back to when I was a toddler. Back then we coated belly pork slices in flour, egg and dried sage and onion stuffing mix (I liked this because you could get your fingers messy) and layered them up with onions, potatoes and gammon stock and cooked it for as long as possible.

These days however, a more sophisticated slow cooked pork belly dish is a best seller on my bistro menu. We use a whole piece of Berkshire/ Gloucester Old Spot cross pork from Home Farm on Bredon Hill. Once I have trimmed off any excess fat/ sinew, cut the pork in half, then season it with salt, pepper and a little five spice, and roll it like the lamb saddle then tie it with string, and seal it in my old roasting tin:
After the pork, I add some onions and carrots (I like using Chantenay) so you get a good caramelisation colour and flavour, and then it is braised in cider, gammon stock and a little sage from my garden and cook it on 180°C for 5 hours or more (3 - 4 hours is OK if you're in a rush, but it really doesn't get as soft as 5 hours).
You can either cut it warm, or, as shown below, cold. If you want to pre-cook it the day before, you can re-heat it with a little stock in either the microwave or oven. If you like crackling you can trim off the rind from the pork and cut it into pieces and crisp it up under the grill.
Meanwhile the braising liquor is thickened up to make the accompanying sauce.
[shown before adding onions, carrots and sauce]

Green lentils are the lentil of choice for your creamy lentils - they are the variety that stay whole when cooked. These are cooked with onion, carrot, garlic and pancetta, chicken stock and a little cream for about 15 minutes till all the moisture has been absorbed. You can then add a couple of spoons of crème fraîche. These lentils have rapidly become my favourite dish.

Related posts:

Pork tenderloin in parma ham (ballottine)
Roast pork loin

Pork curry

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