Stuffed pork belly with crackling

This stuffed pork belly is a rich and tasty showstopper. Serve with cranberry jelly and baked potatoes. Delicious!

Serves 10–12
Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus overnight in the refrigerator
Cooking time: about 3½ hours

• 2.5–3kg deboned pork belly with skin on
• salt and pepper
• 60ml wholegrain mustard

FILLING

• 30ml olive oil
• 1 small sourdough bread or ciabatta, cubed
• 2–3 Pink Lady apples, cored and cut into wedges
• 15ml honey
• 15ml lemon juice
• 1 red chilli, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 1 knob fresh ginger, chopped
• 1–2 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped
• 125ml dried cranberries

How to:

1. Using a sharp paring knife and ruler, score the pork skin, making the incisions about 1cm apart across the width of the meat (or ask your butcher to do it for you). Pour boiling water over the skin, drain and pat dry with a tea towel (paper towel tends to stick). Rub generously with salt and pepper and place uncovered on a shelf in the refrigerator. The cold air dehydrates the skin and gives a crispier end result.

2. Make the filling Combine half of the olive oil with the cubed bread and grill in a preheated oven until golden brown on all sides. Mix the apple wedges with the honey, lemon juice, chilli, garlic, ginger and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Grill until the apples are soft and browned. Mix the cranberries with the bread and apples.

3. Increase the oven to 230°C. Place 30cm lengths of kitchen string next to each other,  about 2cm apart, on a chopping board or work surface. Place the pork belly on top with the skin side down and spread with mustard. Spoon the filling across the length of the meat in the middle. Roll the meat up around the filling and tie tightly with the string. Weigh the meat to determine the cooking time: 25 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 20 minutes.

4. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan and oven roast for 20 minutes at 230°C – the high temperature will ensure a crispy, golden brown skin; keep a close eye on it. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and roast further for the calculated time.
Tip If the crackling has not crisped enough after the calculated time, roast under the grill, but keep an eye on it – it will burn in an instant.

5. Remove the string and allow the meat to rest well before carving.

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