Friday, November 21, 2008
Roast Pork Experiment 1
I love my new oven! I made roast pork, and loved it! Look at the juice bubbling out from the glistening flesh. It was warm, tender and sweeeet! The crackling skin was supercrispy! I love soft bones/cartilage too, so these were a bonus. But the biggest surprise - the roasted vegetables below that caught all the dripping fat and seasoning simply tasted divine! Yes, they turned out way better than when I roast them with other meats, especially chicken!
There are so many variations in recipes but I decided to pare it down to the barest - pork belly, salt, pepper and five-spice powder. HoChiak's recipe looked the simplest, although the mountain of salt crystals looked too dangerous for me to safely attempt. Thankfully, HungryBear says if you make lots of little punctures on the skin with a fork, it will blister nicely without the need for oversalting. I was too lazy to pre-blanch the pork though. But I saw vegetables and tubers below her pork in the photos and followed that (DO IT! They will be so delicious!). Southernoise used bamboo sticks to keep the length of the pork belly from warping, and also carved inch-wide slots at the bottom for greater marinating surface area.
Some people recommend letting the salted slab dry out in the fridge for a day or two, but I tried that and the skin turned so tough no fork could penetrate it (I had to resort to steak knives to poke the skin)! Will skip the fridge step in future, and see what difference it makes.
So this is how I would do it next time.
ROAST PORK Experiment 2
1kg pork belly
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper (white probably is better)
1 tablespoon five spice powder
cut vegetables of choice - onions, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, whole garlic etc - enough to fill your baking tray.
1. Clean pork belly, and make slots about 1-2cm deep and one-inch apart on the meat side.
2. Poke skin with fork or sharp small knife thoroughly as much as possible.
3. Rub salt all over, skin and meat alike.
4. Smear pepper and five-spice powder all over the meat side, avoiding the skin.
5. Insert satay sticks in crosswise manner. Leave aside to rest/marinade for a couple of hours.
6. Roast pork belly with vegetables in tray in oven (you may need to preheat) at 180 degrees for about 30-40 mins. You may need to rotate the pork for even roasting. Continue baking for another half hour or until skin has fully blistered (depends on your oven). Savour the crackling symphony within.
7. Let roast pork rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
8. ENJOY WITH ALL MANNER OF CARB - rice, bread, noodles, pasta or even salad! Or eat it on its own - it's delicious! I had to pace myself and leave some for others.