“This has become our signature at Kitchen by Mike,” says McEnearney. “It’s a drawn-out process, but it’s all done while you sleep.” Lining the roasting pan with foil and bringing it up around the sides of the pork helps the meat remain juicy while the crackling becomes crisp. You’ll need to begin this recipe two days ahead.
- 150 gm sea salt
- 1.8 kg piece of female pork belly, bone in, skin on
- 1 litre vegetable oil (4 cups)
- 250 ml extra-virgin olive oil (1 cup)
- 25 ml dry white wine
- 3 garlic cloves, bruised
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 500 gm unpeeled cumquats
- 375 gm caster sugar
- 375 ml apple cider vinegar (1½ cups)
- 20 gm ginger, cut into julienne (4cm piece)
- ½ long red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 7 cloves
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1Stir salt and 1.5 litres water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until salt dissolves and set aside to cool to room temperature. Place pork in a non-reactive container, pour brine over to cover, weight with a plate, cover and refrigerate to brine (overnight).
- 2Preheat oven to 80C. Drain brine from pork (discard), pat pork dry with absorbent paper and place in a roasting pan large enough to fit pork snugly. Add oils, wine, garlic and herbs, cover with foil and roast until very tender (10 hours). Carefully lift pork from oil (see note) and place skin-side down on a tray lined with baking paper. Remove bones, trim sinew (discard), cover with another piece of baking paper, then another tray, weight with food cans or a heavy chopping board and refrigerate to press and cool (overnight).
- 3Meanwhile, for cumquat relish, bring cumquats and enough water to cover to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then cook until tender (3-5 minutes). Drain, cool, halve lengthways, remove seeds (discard) and set aside. Stir sugar, vinegar, ginger, chilli, spices and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, add cumquats, bring to the simmer and cook until mixture reaches soft setting point (50-60 minutes). Spoon into sterilised jars (see cook’s notes), seal and cool to room temperature. Makes about 3 cups. Cumquat relish will keep in sterilised jars for 3 months.
- 4Preheat oven to 210C. Remove weights, tray and paper from pork. Score skin with a very sharp knife through to the fat, rub with ½ tsp sea salt and place skin-side up in a roasting pan lined with foil, allowing foil edges to hang over sides. Gather foil around meat, leaving skin uncovered. Add 1cm water to pan and roast until skin is golden (30-40 minutes). Increase oven to 250C and roast until crackling forms (10-15 minutes). Set aside to rest (10 minutes), thickly slice and serve hot with cumquat relish.
To re-use the oil in which the pork is cooked, stand at room temperature for fat to settle, then pour off the oil from the top into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and decant into sterilised jars. The lovely stock left at the bottom can be used for sauces or soups.
This recipe is from the October 2012 issue of