Cracked Pork Belly with Mustard Greens and Blackberry Vinaigrette

Cracked Pork Belly

Have I mentioned I like pork? I like it bunches. Possibly on a par with cake but they would have to duke it out bare-knuckled before I could truly declare a winner.

Last weekend, our local pub, The Old Dairy, was having a pork and cider festival. Of course we thought we should do our bit for local business and went along to support it whole-heartedly. They offered, alongside their usual fare, a little piggy menu featuring impossible to choose from items like pulled pork baps. So, we decided not to decide and just went the whole hog (I refuse to apologise for that), and ordered the piggy feast. We were treated to crackling popcorn, braised pig cheeks, barbecued ribs, pork belly, crispy pig ears and a bacon salad as a token gesture at health. This all went down very well, so much so that I couldn’t help but re-create one of the elements during the week.

There is no reason why this can’t be a mid-week treat as you get a lot of joy from not much work. The pork belly itself takes moments to prepare and can easily be done in about ten minutes in the morning to be thrown in the oven as soon as you get home. Have a glass of cider to indulge in your own festival whilst you are waiting the hour for the pork belly to get itself ready. I had picked up some lovely mustard greens from the farmers market and drizzled over some fresh fruity vinaigrette to add a sweet zing to the ensemble.

The blackberry vinegar I used was one of the by-products of my mammoth blackberry September but you can use any fruit vinegar just whisked together with a bit of olive oil to create your dressing. For the pork belly I like to use garlic powder instead of the real thing not only because it is the lazy option but also doesn’t produce that acrid burnt smell which fresh garlic cloves do in high heat.

Pork Belly1

Cracked Pork Belly with Mustard Greens and Blackberry Vinaigrette

2 kg pork belly
1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp thyme leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp garlic powder
Plenty of salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C
  2. Pat the pork belly dry with kitchen towel then score the skin in a criss cross, being careful not to pierce the meat.
  3. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and rub over the skin, pushing the herby crumbs into the cracks you created in the skin. Season well.
  4. Place the pork belly in a roasting tray, skin side down and roast on the high heat for 15 mins.
  5. Turn the heat down to 160°C and roast for a further 30 mins.
  6. Turn the pork belly skin side up and roast for a final 15 mins.
  7. Remove the pork belly from the oven and rest for ten mins before slicing.
  8. Serve on top of the mustard greens and drizzle over with the blackberry vinaigrette.