Looking for something different to cook for the Christmas spread this year? In this delicious recipe, Sydney caterer Bern the Chef (Bernadette Kennealy) combines Asian flavours with a fresh, zingy salad, perfect fare for warm summer weather. The beauty of it is that most of the preparation for the pork belly can be done a day or two before. You can also prepare the salad ingredients the day before and toss them together, then cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate and dress on the day . Alternatively, you can order it from Bern, and ask her to supply all your other Christmas goodies, including plum pudding with vanilla anglaise, mince pies and her very popular Christmas gravy.
If you're beginning to panic, call her on 0402 092 574.
- boneless piece of pork belly (female) - 3kg, rinsed and patted dry
- Master Stock
- chicken stock - 2 litres
- light soy sauce - 600ml
- dark soy sauce - 600ml
- Shaoxing wine - 525ml
- dried tangerine peel - 3 pieces (available from Chinese grocers)
- whole star anise - 5
- cassia bark - 2 pieces
- fresh ginger - 100g, roughly sliced
- garlic - 1 head, roughly crushed and chopped
- green onions - 1 bunch, ends and tops
- To serve
- Chinese fried shallots - 1/2 cup
- Green Mango Coleslaw
- green mangoes - 2, peeled and finely julienned
- coriander - 1 bunch, washed, leaves picked and shredded
- Vietnamese mint leaves - 1 bunch, washed and picked
- mint leaves - 1 bunch, picked and shredded
- bean sprouts - 300g, rinsed, topped and tailed
- carrot - 1, peeled and julienned
- small chilli - 1 small, finely sliced
- Wombok (Chinese cabbage) - 1/2, finely shredded
- green onions - 3, finely sliced
- limes - 2, juice only
- fish sauce - 1 tablespoon
- sea salt - 1 teaspoon
- ground white pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
For the Master Stock: in a medium-large saucepan, bring all ingredients (except pork belly and fried shallots) to the boil. Turn down hear and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 160degC (140degC fan-forced) and place pork belly, skin side up, in a large roasting pan.
Remove Master Stock from heat and pour over pork belly. Cover pork belly with greaseproof paper and foil, and cook for 2 hours. Remove paper and foil and roast uncovered for approximately 40 minutes, or until pork belly skin has crackled up. Remove from oven, cool, remove from braising stock. Strain master stock and keep 300 ml for finishing the dish. Chill pork overnight - can be prepared up to here.
Next day, slice the pork belly into 2 cm slices and reheat uncovered in 180degC (160degC fan-forced) for 30 minutes. Bring the 300 ml of master stock to the boil and let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Place salad on a large platter, arrange pork belly over the centre of the salad, drizzle with the hot master stock, and sprinkle with fried shallots.
The rest of the stock can be kept refrigerated for 10 days. Let it boil for half an hour, then re-use to braise chicken, duck or more pork belly. It also freezes well.
To make the Greeen Mango Coleslaw: mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl just before serving. Place on a large platter with warmed sliced pork belly on top. Drizzle with master stock and fried shallots.
Tip: Make sure you buy Australian pork as the flavour is much better than imported pork - look for the distinctive bright pink square sticker at your local butcher or IGA supermarket.