Crispy pork belly
The day before
1 The day before you’re going to cook and enjoy the pork, take a sharp knife and score the skin of the pork in a criss-cross pattern. Then season well by rubbing salt thoroughly into the skin. Place on a cooling wire then on a tray – don’t use cling film. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
The next day
2 Boil the kettle and pre heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Pour a half litre of boiling water over the pork belly while it is still sitting on the wire atop the tray. This method will open the skin and the fat, creating a wonderful crackling.
3 Place the pork belly into the hot oven at 180C/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes to get it cooking. Then after 20-25 minutes, lower the temperature to 140C/Gas Mark 1 and continue to cook for about 2½ hours. This method of cooking will ensure the fat becomes the most amazing crackling.
4 To prepare the cabbage, cut out the core and finely shred. Heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion and sweat for 2–3 minutes, then add the cabbage and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the star anise, cinnamon and some salt and pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes to release the flavours.
5 Now add the orange zest and sprinkle in the sugar. Add the orange juice and wine vinegar and let bubble to reduce down. Pour in the red wine and port. Add the sultanas and leave to cook gently for 40 minutes. Peel, core and dice the apple. Add to the cabbage, toss to mix and set aside. Save a few batons for a garnish.
6 Pour any juices from the roasting tin into a jug. When the fat has separated, discard it and pour the meaty juices back into the tin. Put the tin on the hob and stir in the flour to a smooth paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the stock. Bring to the boil and bubble until the gravy has reduced a little and is of a good consistency. If it needs sweetening, add some honey to taste.
7 Take the pork out of the oven, the meat should be so tender it flakes off. Serve alongside the cabbage and apple mix.
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