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Margot Henderson's Roast Pork Belly & Fennel

Margot Henderson's Roast Pork Belly & Fennel

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Chef and co-owner Margot Henderson of Rochelle Canteen & Rochelle ICA uses a slow and gentle cooking process to create an irresistible rolled roasted pork belly.

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Transcript

- This is a really unique dish for us because we put a lot of love and care into it. The slow and gentle cooking all comes together for a great dish. People love to eat pork belly in our restaurant. They come here for a warming, hearty and awesome time. The fatty succulents, the gentle meat and the spices all coming together. I think it's very popular and people feel happy eating it. I'm Margot Henderson, chef, owner of Rochelle Canteen. Rochelle Canteen started 12 years ago when Melanie and I opened in an old Victorian school behind a clothes store and you had to ring the doorbell to get in. We've opened Rochelle at the ICA on the Mall here, just down the road from Buckingham Palace. This particular dish was at Jeremy Lee's Sunday Lunch. Just sort of out of nowhere, seems to have cooked all this beautiful food and there was this rolled pork belly, which he'd actually done the day before and then thinly sliced it up and it just stuck with me and it's quite a simple dish and a good dish to do for lots of people. Our philosophy is building up, making things better, always looking to improve small things as much as we can and gently I think, over the years, it really has worked and people do come here. The spice mixture really lifts the dish up, it's a bit punchy, brings in a bit more flavor into the belly. First of all you would pull all the leaves off the thyme branches and then chop them up finely, and add that to all the spices in your spice grinder. We've got fresh thyme, black pepper, smoked Chili, fennel seeds, some lemon zest, and coriander seeds. Quite a fine ground is quite good, but feel your way, express yourself. Then empty it into a bowl and that's your spices done. Then you make your onion mixture which is going to be a sort of sweet, spicy, succulent thing that you're putting into the belly and will cut through the fat a bit, but it sort of enhances all the flavors. So firstly, get your shallots, peel them and slice them into thin half moons, then pour in some olive oil into the pan, and pop your shallots into the pan. Then peel the garlic, slice that up and add that to the shallot and olive oil mixture and put that onto the heat and slowly heat them up. You don't wanna burn or color the onions. Stir them and then once that's got softened, about five, 10 minutes, add the spices, then cook them down and add the red wine and reduce that by about a third. The onion mixture should be unctuous and soft and giving, it shouldn't be too wet. The onion mixture should be ready when they're all softened and everything's taken on the color of the wine, they're all coming together and at that point you can leave them to the side to cool down. I really love pork belly because it's a great cut of meat. The fat is really unctuous. It all melts into the meat and then you get that lovely, crispy skin. Firstly, lay your pork belly on the board and then trim off any extra fat or sinew and then cut away the ribs and then once they're all off, turn it over and score the skin on the other side. Scoring the skin will help release the fats and help crisp it all up and then also you can mold it a bit better and roll it into the right shape. Then you spread all the onion mixture, just evenly over, not too much 'cause then it oozes all out. Roll it up as best you can and then get yourself a nice long piece of butcher's string and start to tie it up. You don't want it too tight. You want it to be able to grow as it cooks. But it all keeps it together and because of all the fat, it sort of merges into a lovely round piece of meat and looks very glamorous. It's quite moist so you don't need any olive oil, but you rub sea salt into it, just like you're massaging somebody's back and that also helps the flavor and crisp up the skin. Then you're ready to cook it. You get yourself a roasting tray which it will fit into. Put the belly into the oven at 220 for about 10 to 15 minutes so it starts to get a nice crisp up and then take it out of the oven and turn it over, so that the other side is good and brown as well. And then turn the oven down to 160 and then you'll cook it for about an hour and a half, two hours at a lower temperature. Take it out of the oven and leave the string on and leave it to rest for about 20 minutes and this will just help it to relax. Once the belly has had a moment of relaxation, you can cut the string off and then you can carve it up. You can cut it into thin slices, half centimeter slice is a nice portion. It's just however you'll feel like eating that day. Fennel is great with everything, but particularly good with pork. The nuttiness, the olive oil, all comes together with the pork really well. Firstly, take the fennel and on the chopping board, trim off the ends and the outside leaves if they're a bit woody and then cut them in half and I like to cut them into wedges. Tie the herbs together, thyme and sage. It's a good idea to tie them together 'cause then you don't have bits of herb all through your dish. Then peel and slice the garlic. Take a pot, add some olive oil. Heat the olive oil up and add in the fennel. Once it's started to brown a little bit, you can add in your salt and then toss that about on the high heat, get the color going, then add the garlic cloves and some lemon zest and cook for about four minutes. Add the wine and reduce down. Then add the tied herbs into the pot and put the lid on and then let it all simmer away for about 15 minutes. So once you've carved your meat, take a slice of pork, put it onto the middle of the plate. Nustle in the fennel next to it. They should be friends, not lovers and then you can drizzle a little bit of the juices from the pan over the top. Here's your final dish. You've got your pork belly and your brazed fennel. The onions are all succulent, they've melted into the meat. The skin's crispy, you've sliced it up. You've got lots and lots of potions out of one belly. You can feed an army of friends and family. The final dish with the aniseed taste of the succulent, soft fennel, melts together with the belly really well. I think you've got a top dish. We've really nurtured it from the beginning to the end, cooked it with a lot of love and care. It's a special dish on the menu here.

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