​​​​​​​

Pork Belly with Apple Purée & Sprouting Broccoli

by Simon Hulstone​​​​​​​

Main Easy ​​​​​​​ 6 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 3 hours, plus 2 days pork salting and pressing

INGREDIENTS

PORK BELLY
1.5kg pork belly, skin and bones left on

50g of sea salt

3 medium onions, peeled and roughy diced

2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced

4 celery sticks, washed and roughly diced

1 fennel bulb, roughly sliced

2 bulbs of garlic, peeled and roughly crushed

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

10 white peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 star anise

chicken stock, to cover

APPLE PURÉE
6 Bramley apples, large

70g of butter, diced

2 tbsp of light brown sugar

salt

50ml of water

PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI
700g of purple sprouting broccoli

salt

25g of butter

SAUCE
3 shallots, peeled, root removed and thinly sliced

250g of button mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced

1 tbsp of tomato paste

3/4 bottle of red wine, medium

25g of flour

25g of butter, softened

vegetable oil

METHOD

1. Rub the sea salt into the pork belly and leave overnight in the fridge, or for 12 hours. In the morning rub off the salt and rinse of any excess under cold running water

2. Place the pork belly in a deep roasting tray, arranging all the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Cover with chicken stock and braise in the oven at 140°C/gas mark 1 for 3 ½ hours. The belly is done when you can pierce the flesh easily

3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the stock. Line a tray with greaseproof paper and carefully transfer the pork belly onto a tray, skin-side down

4. Remove all of the rib bones and white cartilage. Place a sheet of greaseproof on top of the pork belly, lay a flat tray on top and weigh down with 4-5kg (butter, drinks, or heavy fruit work well) to press the belly in the fridge overnight

5. Pass the remaining stock through a fine sieve and reduce by half, be careful if you used powder stock, as it will become quite salty. Store in a container until needed

6. The following morning cut the pressed pork into 6 equal squares, enough for each person and place back in the fridge until required

7. For the apple purée, peel and core the apples and place into a high-sided tray. Add butter, sugar, a sprinkle of salt and 50ml of water

8. Place into an oven at 180°C/gas mark 4. Cook until the apples have a mushy texture, approximately 25-35 minutes

9. Carefully pour into a jug blender and blitz until smooth. Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and sugar as desired

10. Pass through a fine sieve and store in the fridge until needed

11. To prepare the broccoli, remove the outer leaves, leaving the florets attached to the stalk. Remove 1cm from the bottom part of the stalk - the woody part of the vegetable

12. Blanch in heavily salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Check they are done by using the tip of the knife to pierce the stems: it should go in with a little resistance. Refresh in ice water, drain and leave in the fridge until required

13. For the sauce, heat some vegetable oil in a thick-bottomed pan over a high heat. Fry the shallots and mushrooms until golden. Be careful not to burn them or it will make your sauce bitter

14. Once golden, stir in tomato paste and after about 10 seconds add the wine and reduce until it just coats the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved pork cooking liquor and bring up to the boil

15. Meanwhile, mix the flour and butter together so it forms a paste

16. Once the pork sauce has come to the boil, gradually whisk in the flour and butter mix, pea-sized amounts each time. You might not need all of it, just enough to make the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside

17. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Heat a thick-bottomed pan, without oil, and add the pork belly, skin-side down. Place a small tray over the pan to guard against the spitting pan. Be careful: it will get very hot

18. Once the skin starts to colour, place the pan into a hot oven and leave for 15 minutes. Check to see if it’s hot by using a temperature probe, it should read 65°C

19, Meanwhile, reheat the purée and sauce until hot. Prepare a pan of boiling water and melt the butter in a wide pan for the broccoli

20. Just before serving, drop the broccoli into the boiling water. Remove after 30 seconds and then toss in the melted butter and season with salt

21. To serve, spoon the purée onto plates, followed by the broccoli and pork belly. Drizzle over the sauce and serve immediately