I’ve not done much cooking recently, but I was struck with a craving for things that were bad for me the other week and put together the following tastiness – Confit pork belly with creamy bacony lentils.
Pork Belly (I used a bit that was about 1/2 a kilo)
3 cloves garlic
Heat your oven to about 140degC while you prepare the pork. Score and heavily salt the skin of your pork belly, making sure to rub it in the salt to all the slits you have made. Leave to one side while the oven heats up. Stick enough lard to cover your pork belly (about 3 blocks in my case, although I should probably have used 4) in a casserole dish and place in the oven to melt. When melted add the peppercorns, bay leaves and the garlic, lightly smashed. When you get bored of waiting/allowing the pork to salt, stick the pork belly into the lard, hopefully completely submerging it, and return to the oven for some time.
Mine puckered up a bit during cooking, raising it out of the fat
I cooked mine for 3 hours, but 4 might have been even better. Once the cooking time is over remove the pork from the fat and place into a container deep enough to allow it to be completely covered in fat. Strain the lard into a jug and then pour over the pork, again hopefully completely submerging it. Cover and when cool place in the fridge. Leave for some time (I divided mine into two pieces and the first one lasted a week before I had to eat it, the other is still in there).
When you want to cook it, take the container out of the fridge, allow to return to room temperature and then remove the pork. Scrape any remaining lard off (although leaving a bit isn’t a problem) and keep it somewhere cool for next time you want to do this. Place the pork on a trivet and put it in a hot oven until it is at an appropriate eating temperature and hopefully has crisped up on top (mine didn’t) – hopefully about 45 minutes. While that is happening cook some lentils in water until tender and then add them to some dry fried bacon lardons and add a dash of cream.
Slice the pork belly and serve on top of a pile of lentils. Eat. Make “Nom” noises.
I think I needed the oven to be hotter when reheating as it didn’t crisp up on top. It might even need a quick fry skin side down before or after the second cooking. Either way, it was really rather good – the pork was meltingly tender, although another hour in the initial cooking might have made it even more so, and lightly flavoured with a hint of bay, pepper and garlic. The remaining piece that I have in the fridge talks to me on a daily basis, begging me to eat it. I will be strong for a while yet.