Slow roast pork belly with juniper

Ingredients

  • FOR 4
  • 1 kg belly pork with the rind scored
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Small handful of thyme sprigs

Method

Belly pork is quick and easy to prepare and then is left in a low oven to cook for several hours. The refreshing bittersweet taste of juniper marries well with pork; most often used in pâtés and terrines, its sharpness also cuts through the fat of belly pork. Rub a handful of salt over the rind and leave the meat in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Heat the oven to 150C/gas 1 and put in a small roasting tin. Let it heat through for a few minutes. Gently rinse the salt off the pork and dry with kitchen paper. Take out the tin, put in the tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Scatter the garlic, juniper berries, bay leaves and thyme over and between them. Put the pork on top, skin side up. Return the pan to the oven and cook slowly for 3-3 ½ hours. Heat an overhead grill, take the pork from the oven and put it under the grill for 5 -6 minutes to crisp the skin. Cover the pork with a piece of foil or a lid and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Lift out the pork to carve. Scoop up the tomatoes and garlic, leaving behind the fat in the pan. Serve the pork with the garlic and tomato ‘sauce’ and boiled or mashed potatoes.