This is a simple Sunday lunch that can largely be prepared beforehand, leaving you time to enjoy the day.
2kg pork belly, skin scored in thin lines
A little olive or sunflower oil
2 x 400g tins of butter beans
4 large carrots
1 tablespoon coriander seed
A large bunch of fresh thyme
1 bottle of white wine (or 100ml white wine and 650ml stock)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
This fast, slow, fast method of cooking the pork is the key to perfect crackling every time. You can use pretty much any tinned beans (or soak and cook your own). If you are being frugal, use 100ml of white wine or cider vinegar and 650ml of stock instead of the wine. And you can play with the spices and herbs in the vegetables under the pork: the aniseeds (bulb fennel and fennel seed) work well.
Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Place the pork belly in a large roasting tray and smear it all over with the oil, salt and pepper, making sure to get a good amount of salt rubbed into the skin. Then put it into the oven.
Drain and rinse the beans. Chop the carrots and leeks into uneven smallish pieces, then, in a bowl, mix the beans and vegetables with the rest of the ingredients.
After the pork has been in the oven for 25 minutes, if any fat’s come out, baste it once. After a further 20 minutes remove the roasting tray from the oven. The pork skin should be going a little brown and bubbly. Take the pork out of the roasting tray and pour out the fat. Then tip in the beans, vegetables and wine. Place the pork belly on top and cover tightly with foil.
Turn the oven down to 160C/gas mark 3 and cook for another 2 hours.
When the time’s up, remove the foil. If the vegetables at the bottom of the pan are drying out, add a touch of water. Turn the oven up to 200C/gas mark 6 and roast the pork for another 15 minutes, or until it is fully crisped. Depending on your piece of pork, this could take a further 30 minutes. Transfer the meat to a board and carve at the table, and serve the vegetables and beans in a dish.
Taken from ‘Leon Family & Friends’ by Kay Plunkett-Hogge and John Vincent (Conran Octopus, £25). Photograph by Georgia Glynn Smith