Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Celeriac Apple Puree and Roasted Apples

Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Celeriac Apple Puree and Roasted Apples

Slow-Roast Pork Belly

Slow motion. That’s what it’s been like over the past couple of weeks. And, although it can get annoying at times, most of the time I am actually grateful for this new turn of events. My fast paced life filled with a myriad of different activities, hobbies and interests is no more. All of those have been replaced with just two basic human instincts – eating and sleeping. When I am awake and conscious, I move slowly and deliberately, while a prevailing sense of calmness and tranquility hovers above me the whole time. It feels kinda awesome.

Slow-Roast Pork Belly

Pregnancy is nothing I ever thought it would be.  No nausea or morning sickness, no hunger pangs or mood swings, no weird food cravings or aversions. I sometimes even forget I’m pregnant. Seriously. I just hope it stays that way for the months to come. You better hope that too or else you might be reading a whole different story here. You don’t want me to get cranky. Trust me.

Slow-Roast Pork Belly

There is one thing, though. I don’t really feel like eating dessert. I don’t really feel like baking one either. Yeah, I know. The lack of baking instincts freaks me out too! I will eat a sweet treat from time to time, but I don’t care much for cakes, or chocolate, or even chocolate cakes! My body craves refreshing fruity desserts, like fruit salads, or light and creamy treats, such as Greek yogurt sweetened with honey or dried fruits. It’s absurd, really.

Slow-Roast Pork Belly

So, I decided to stop all that nonsense and bake a cake today. It was a ridiculously simple  Vegan Orange Cake and I even ate a thin slice. It didn’t really sing to me, not even when I topped it with a dollop of Greek yogurt. My husband loves it, though. He is the expert, so I trust his judgement. Anyway, I hope this condition doesn’t last, both for my and your sake. And my husband’s sake, of course.

Slow-Roast Pork Belly

I didn’t quit baking altogether, though. I especially love turning on my oven on cold snowy days to warm up the house and air with tempting savory perfumes. I enjoy big bold flavor combinations of roast meat and aromatic spices. When it comes to a mouthwatering and delectable roast, pork belly is my hero. I just love it. Although it’s a relatively cheap cut of meat, if given enough love, warmth, care and time, it will turn into  the most succulent melt-in-the mouth roast you can imagine. The combination of celeriac and apples is the perfect match to roasted pork belly. The flavors balance each other beautifully and give the meal a lovely freshness.

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Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Celeriac Apple Puree and Roasted Apples

Serves 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Difficulty: Intermediate

Category: Salads & sides, Meat
Melt-in-the-mouth pork belly served alongside a refreshing puree and sweet roasted apples. Does comfort food get any better?
For the Pork belly:
Ingredients
1kg pork belly, skin scored
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice
Directions
Heat the oven to 200°C. Take the pork out of the fridge and pat the skin dry. Brush the skin lightly with olive oil. Crush the salt and fennel seeds together using a mortar and pestle, then rub the mixture all over the pork, making sure it gets into the cuts in the skin. Transfer the pork in a large roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes to start off the crackling. After this time, squeeze some lemon juice over the skin and reduce the heat to 160°C. Roast for further 1 1/2 hours, basting the meat every once in a while with the pan juices. Turn the oven back up to 200°C and roast for 20 minutes to crisp up. Leave to rest on a board for 15 minutes before carving.
For the Celeriac apple puree:
Ingredients
500g peeled and diced celeriac root (about 1 large)
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Directions
Combine the celeriac, apple and thyme in a large saucepan. Cover with water, season with salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the celeriac is tender.
Remove the thyme sprigs and drain the water, reserving some of the liquid. Puree the celeriac and apples using an immersion blender, add cooking liquid by the tablespoon to achieve the desired consistency. Return the saucepan to low heat, add butter and heavy cream and and cook for another minute. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
For the Roasted apples:
Ingredients
2 medium apples, cut into chunks
2 medium purple onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Directions
Put the apples and onions into a baking dish together thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with fennel seeds and toss with olive oil. Transfer to the oven as soon as the pork belly is done. Roast for 20 minutes at 190°C or until the apples are tender.

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