First published January 2016 in York Press
Pork belly is one of my favourite comfort food options – the perfect antidote to cold drizzle and grey skies. Humans and pigs have lived in harmony for thousands of years and it is certain that our Viking ancestors made use of their nourishing meat over the late winter months. Dill and garlic were also popular flavourings in Norse cookery and work beautifully with the tender pork and sticky roast vegetables. Though potatoes didn’t arrive in Britain until at least 600 years later they absorb the garlic and dill wonderfully to create a flavourful, sticky foundation to this one pot dish.
1kg piece of boned pork belly
1 tbsp of table salt
4 large, floury potatoes (King Edward, Maris Piper, Rooster)
3 large carrots
A large bulb of garlic
1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
1 heaped tbsp of dill seeds
A few hours before cooking – remove the wrapping from your belly joint and pat the skin dry. Place back in the fridge uncovered.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.
Rub the table salt into the skin of the pork belly before placing into the centre of a roasting tray.
Chop the potatoes, carrots and leeks into inch long pieces. There is no need to peel your vegetables and much of the vitamin C found in potatoes sits just below the skin. Break the bulb of garlic into individual cloves. Place everything into a large bowl and toss well with a little rapeseed oil and the dill seeds.
Scatter the vegetables around the pork and roast for 90 minutes. Return to the oven occasionally, turning the potatoes in the delicious fat from the joint.
Remove the roasting tray from the oven and increase the temperature to 240C/Gas mark 9. Carefully remove the fat/crackling layer from your joint and return to it the vegetables before placing the tray back to the oven for a final 20 minutes. Wrap the meat in foil and leave to rest.
Serve the garlic and dill infused potatoes topped with slices of the belly pork and gravy.