Crisp belly of pork with lentils and Granny Smith apple purée

Mark Hix says: Anthony's first book, Today's Special (published by Quadrille, £20) has some beautiful pictures from our own Jason Lowe and has lots of clever dishes using less common cuts of fish and meat. I used his rabbit recipe a while back and it worked a treat using every single bit of the rabbit. You could work your way through this book and survive the credit crunch with money to spare.

"I favour apples with a high acidity, like Granny Smiths," says Anthony, "to cut through the fattiness of the pork belly. If you can't get apples that are sufficiently acidic, you can always add a little lemon juice."

1 pork belly, about 1.5kg
2 litres brine (made the day before by boiling 200g sugar, 200g salt, 2 juniper berries, 1 bayleaf and 10 white peppercorns in 2 litres water, then simmmering for 10 minutes and allowing to cool)
2 heads of garlic
2 sprigs of thyme
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lentils

25g butter
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, strings removed and diced
2 onions, peeled and diced
300g Puy lentils

For the Granny Smith apple purée

4 Granny Smith apples
25g butter

The day before, using a craft knife, slash the pork rind in 1cm strips, making sure that you do not penetrate the meat. Place in the cooled brine for one day. This process not only flavours the meat, but also helps release water from the fat and rind, creating a base for fantastic crispy crackling.

Next day, take the pork from the brine, place in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, lift out the pork and leave to cool slightly. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/gas 3.

Place the garlic and thyme on the base of a roasting tray, put the pork on top, rind side up, and liberally drizzle with olive oil and salt. Pour 2cm of water into the tray, put in the pre-heated oven and roast for 1–2 hours, topping up with water now and again just to stop it drying out. When cooked, take from the oven and leave to cool down.

Pour off all the juices and reserve. Place a tray or board on top of the pork and apply 3–4 plates to press and reshape the pork in order to obtain a nice flat appearance (otherwise it develops an odd shape during cooking and cooling).

To cook the lentils, melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan and lightly sweat the diced vegetables in it. Add the lentils and reserved juices from the pork. Top up with water to cover plus 2.5cm, bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked (about 30 minutes).

To make the Granny Smith apple purée, peel, core and chop the apples. Put in a stainless-steel pan with the butter, cover and cook over a low heat until soft (about 10–15 minutes). Crush or blend to a paste. Serve the pork carved thickly, with the purée and lentils.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there