Really Tasty Italian Pork Belly and Beans (with some onions!)

Since it’s so very cold out, I decided that a nice warming meal was in order and so got out some strips of pork belly from my freezer.  I’m a big fan of pork belly; it’s one of my favourite cuts of meat and there is always so much you can do with it.  It can be extremely fatty, and although I always try to pick the leanest slices, even these are still about 50% fat. This can be both a positive (tasty!) and negative (bad for the waistline).  For this reason I always like to cook pork belly slowly so that the fat has time to render down leaving beautifully soft and flavoursome meat.

Italian style pork belly with cannellini beans

After seeing what I had in the cupboard I decided to go a bit Italian for this dish, rubbing garlic, fennel seed and rosemary into the meat and serving Cannellini beans as the accompaniment. In the end I used:

1 large clove of garlic

½ tsp fennel seeds

½ tsp dried rosemary

1-2 tbsp olive oil

3 red onions

50ml white wine

1tsp sugar

I started by crushing my fennel seeds, dried rosemary and garlic in my pestle and mortar. I then added the olive oil to form a nice marinade which was massaged onto my two strips of belly pork.  Next I roughly chopped the red onions and placed them in the bottom of an oven proof dish, before pouring over the wine and sprinkling with sugar.  The nicely coated pork went on top of this and then everything went into the oven at 140C for two and a half hours.

my marinade

The onions with wine and sugar, then topped with the pork ready for the oven

With half an hour to go on the pork’s cooking time I started the beans which were really easy.  To make these I needed:

1 tin of Cannellini beans

1 shallot

Another big clove of crushed garlic (keeps the colds away!)

½ tsp dried thyme

50mls chicken (or veg) stock

I finely chopped the shallot and gently sweated it off in a pan with the crushed garlic, till it had turned translucent. Then I added the thyme, the beans and the stock.  This was then simmered over a low heat and occasionally checked to ensure that it didn’t boil dry.  By the time the pork was cooked the chicken stock had all but gone, leaving just enough to flavour and coat the finished beans.  To complete the dish I poured the juices from the pork into the beans as I couldn’t let all that flavour go to waste. It was then given a good mix before serving.

Making the beans: frying the shallots, garlic and thyme; adding the beans, then the stock; the finished beans

The pork just out of the oven

This meal went was a hit with my other half and I really enjoyed it too.  As well as tasting great, the meat was divinely soft and succulent which is everything I want in my pork belly.  Although there was plenty of flavour from the herbs they weren’t overpowering and you could still taste that lovely meat.

I was pleased with the beans, they were a great accompaniment. The pork juices running through just lifted them and added some oomph that stock alone could not have done.  The onions cooked in wine turned out nice with both soft and crispy bits depending on where they had been in the dish and they had an interesting sweet/sour thing going on.

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2 Responses to “Really Tasty Italian Pork Belly and Beans (with some onions!)”

  1. Mark Says:

    I love pork belly too. But I always seem to end up going through many processes to get to the end result.

    This looks so simple and incredibly delicious.

    Mark

  2. rhiannong Says:

    It’s easy because I’m not trying to get the meat soft and the skin crispy! Thats always the hard thing with belly pork. There was no skin on these pieces so I could just concentrate on doing them slowly till they were tender, much simpler 🙂

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