They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s probably how many of the best new recipes come into being. A post-Christmas food glut, and no desire to go supermarket shopping, led to this delicious Sunday lunch invention; a belly of pork joint roasted on a Spanish inspired bed of tomatoes, Pimentón, chorizo, chickpeas and peppers.
I served thick slices of the roasted pork, the Spanish ‘stew’ and whole Charlotte potatoes (cooked in the oven with the remainder of my roast garlic butter) and steamed tender stem broccoli. There was quite a lot left so, for another meal, I cut up the potatoes and chunks of the roast pork, added it to the remaining stew and ate it reheated together. Double yum!
You will need…
- A shallow ovenproof cooking dish, preferably cast iron, large enough for the piece of pork to lie flat on the stew ingredients. If you use a frying pan for the base and then transfer it to a roasting tin, use one with shallowish sides or the meat won’t crisp.
- A slab of pork belly, about 1.5Kg, bones removed, skin lightly scored
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of light olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Pimentón (Spanish paprika)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 100g chorizo (the firm, whole salami kind), chopped into chunks
- 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped into large chunks
- 1 tin of chickpeas (or the dried ones, soaked overnight and then cooked until tender)
- Seas salt and black pepper to season
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- Remove the meat from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature.
- Boil a kettle of water and place the belly pork on a wire tray over the sink and pour the hot water over it. Pat the skin dry with some paper towels and set aside. This will ensure that the crackling is crisp and not too much fat will seep into the bed of Spanish delights underneath.
- Next, make the bed of Spanish delights. Because I used my shallow cast-iron casserole, I cooked this in one pot (washing up bonus!). If you don’t have one, you may have to make the base in a frying pan and then transfer it to a roasting tray afterwards.
- Heat the oil and cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and the chorizo chunks and fry gently for another 5 minutes. Add the Pimentón, the tomatoes and sherry vinegar and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and red peppers. Stir to ensure an even spread of the ingredients.
- Place the belly of pork on top of the mixture. The flavours of the Pimentón and chorizo will penetrate the meat and keep it moist. The top of the pork, as it isn’t touching the base stew, will stay crisp and crackly.
- Cook it in the oven for 20 minutes and then turn the heat down to 180C and cook for another 2 hours.
- After an hour, you can use the spare oven shelf to cook potatoes to go with it – I just roasted whole Charlotte potatoes in garlic butter and a couple of teaspoons of oil to prevent the butter from burning.
- When the dish is cooked (a skewer inserted into the side of the meat should suffice. It will run clear if it’s cooked), lift the pork off the bed of Spanish delights. You may need to zap the crackling under a hot grill for a few minutes for a few more minutes if it isn’t evenly crisp. Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving into long, thick slices and placing them on to a warmed meat platter.
- The chorizo, tomatoes, peppers and chickpeas should have formed a thick and tasty stew, enriched by flavour from the pork juices. Spoon off any excess oil and check the seasoning. You may just need the pepper and a little extra salt.
- Serve and enjoy!
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