Slow Braised Belly Pork with Bacon, Apples and Cider
This is a very special recipe which could make a great meal for the family on Christmas Eve. Once assembled, it sits happily in a slow oven for three hours, leaving you free to attend to other things…
This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas. Serves 6
In a large flameproof casserole heat the lard to smoking hot.
While it’s heating trim off any excess fat from the outer edges of the pork and season them on both sides. Now brown them well on both sides, three at a time, and remove them to a plate before doing the same with the slices of bacon (no seasoning this time).
While that’s happening, slice the onions into thick rings, then they can follow the bacon (adding a little more fat or oil if needed). They too should be well browned on both sides. Meanwhile, peel and slice the garlic, crush the juniper berries with a pestle and mortar, and core the apples with an apple corer, and slice each one into four thick rings.
When the onions are ready, remove them to a plate then, off the heat, wipe the casserole with kitchen paper. Now arrange the onion over the base, followed by the pork. Sprinkle in the garlic and juniper, and follow this by laying the bacon slices on top of the pork. Next scatter the sage leaves here and there, then arrange the apple slices on top.
Now pour in the cider and cider vinegar and add a little seasoning. Then fit a lid, using a sheet of foil as well to make it really tight. Place the casserole in the centre of the oven for 3 hours. Traditional Braised Red Cabbage and mashed potatoes would be the perfect accompaniments (see below).
You can also watch how to make perfect mashed potato in our Onlie Cookery School Video on the right.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1.