This is a meal full of flavour, easy to cook for numbers and a bit different too… There is a little bit of preparation to do, but the actual cooking is pretty effortless, just a slow roast for the pork and a slow simmer for the beans – perfect! Inspired by a wonderful recipe in “Supper with Rosie” by Rosie Lovell, this combination of hearty foods has the warmth for winter evenings and zingyness for summer feasts. That’ll be a year round favourite then!
Twice Cooked Belly Pork with Black Beans and Herby Salsa (serves 4-6)
Pork and Pork Spices
1.5kg Belly Pork, with skin scored
2 star anise
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 tsp juniper berries
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
2 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cloves
500g black beans
4 red peppers
1-2 red chilli
1 large red onion
3 cloves garlic
3 strips lime peel
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
5 spring onions
Small handful fresh coriander
1 tablespoon lemon thyme, leaves stripped from the stalk
Put the black beans into a big bowl and fill with cold water – leave to soak until needed next day.
You need to start this recipe about 4 hours before you want to eat it … but the actual preparation is not so very much. Honest.
Pork – first cooking
Put the belly pork into a large saucepan or casserole, add all the pork spices and cover with boiling water. Bring back to the boil, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
Black Beans Prep and Pork Marinade
Whilst the pork is simmering, quarter the red peppers and remove the seeds. Cut the chilli in half – remove seeds if you’re a chilli woose like me, or leave seeds in and add extra chillis if you’re a fan of heat. Place all pieces skin side up on a baking tray, cover liberally with olive oil and sprinkle over a little salt.
Put into the oven at 200C and roast for about 30 minutes, until the skin is blackening.
Whilst they’re roasting, finely chop the onion, crush the peeled garlic and saute both gently in sunflower or olive oil until translucent.
Once the roasted peppers and chilli are ready, put them in a plastic bag, seal it and leave it to steam whilst you do the next bit. Save the oil in the baking tray, that’ll be added back in later.
Make the marinade for the pork – grate the zest of an orange into a small bowl, add a tablespoon of the juice of the orange, large teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of ground cloves and a large teaspoon of salt.
Back to the belly pork – second cooking
Take the pork out of the water and put it skin side up into a large casserole dish. Rub the marinade over the pork (use spoons or rub in by hand if you have heat-resistant fingers) Add a strained ladle full of the pork cooking water, cover well and put in the oven. Turn the temperature down to 140C, and leave the pork to slow roast for up to 4 hours.
Peel the skin off the peppers, chop roughly, and chop the chilli roughly.
Strain the rest of the pork cooking water into a jug. Cover the black beans with pork cooking water. Add the chopped red peppers and chilli, and slices of lime zest. Do NOT add salt at this stage – that’ll come later.
Bring it up to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes before turning the heat down to a low simmer and cook for 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on the water level and top up with more pork water whenever it gets low.
For the last 20 minutes or so, take the pork out to rest, and lift off the skin. Return the skin to the oven to crisp up a bit.
Mash the beans briefly so the crushed up beans add a nice richness to the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning – it’s likely to need a little more salt at this stage.
Make the little herby salsa by mixing together finely chopped spring onions, lemon thyme leaves and coriander
To serve: Flake the pork from the bones – it should fall off very happily 😮 Add the bits of crackling. Ladle black beans into bowls, pork on top, sprinkling of herb salsa, and serve with some baked potatoes or potato skins. Yum.