Pork Belly with Rhubarb Pickle (6-8)

A recipe from Thomasina Miers where the pork is cooked slowly in molasses and cider until it is dark, treacly and succulent.

Pork Belly with Rhubarb Pickle (6-8)
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Pork Belly with Rhubarb Pickle (6-8)
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  1. Heat the oven to 230C/450F/gas mark 8. Pat dry the pork skin with kitchen paper, then season the skin liberally with flaky sea salt. Line a roasting tin with two layers of foil.
  2. Warm the fennel seeds and peppercorns in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, then roughly grind. Add the molasses, oil and half a teaspoon of salt, and work the mixture into a rough paste.
  3. Rub this into the flesh of the pork, taking care not to get it on the skin and working it right into the layers of meat and fat. Scatter the carrots and celery in the prepared roasting tray, then lay the pork skin side up on top.
  4. Pour in the cider and water, again taking care not to get any on the skin, then roast for 10-20 minutes. Turn down the heat to 170C/335F/gas mark 3 and roast for another 90 minutes, until the flesh is tender enough to pull apart with forks.
  5. In the last half-hour of cooking, toss the rhubarb with the vinegar, sugar, coriander seeds and a pinch of salt. Tip the lot into an oven dish and roast alongside the pork for 15 minutes, until soft, then remove from the oven.
  6. If the pork skin needs more crackling, whack up the heat again and roast for 10-15 minutes more. Once the skin is looking crunchy and golden, leave the pork to rest somewhere warm for 15 minutes, then slice and serve with the rhubarb, drizzling over any juices from the pan, and serve with mash.
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