The Really Quite Good British Cookbook
Recipe by HARDEEP SINGH KOHLI, chef, comic & TV presenter, Regent’s Canal, London
SERVINGS: 6–8 | PREP TIME: 30 MINS | COOK TIME: 9½ HOURS (OR OVERNIGHT) | SKILL LEVEL: 1 (EASY)
Set the oven to the highest setting. Pop the kettle on. On buying your belly, have your butcher remove it from the bone. Keep the bone and bring it home. Also, have them remove the skin, having first scored it in a criss-cross fashion.
Place the skin in the sink and pour boiling water over it. Carefully dry the skin, thoroughly. Rub a tablespoon of oil and then the sea salt into the scored flesh. Place the skin in an oiled roasting tin and put in the oven. It should take only 30 minutes for the skin to become crackling. Remove the crackling and allow to cool. Turn the oven down to 120ºC/250°F/gas ½.
Slice the leeks, carrots and celery in half lengthways. Lay them in the bottom of a roasting tin with the peppercorns. On top, lay the rib bones, 8 sprigs of thyme and then drizzle a tablespoon of oil over. Tuck the veg in under the ribs. Lay the pork belly on top, oil and drizzle the rest of the oil, and scatter the remaining salt over.
Pour 350 ml (12 fl oz) of the perry into the roasting tin. Cover in tinfoil and pop into the oven for anything between 9 and 11 hours. At 90 minutes before the end of cooking, add the halved pears. Roast uncovered for the final hour and a half.
Remove the pork from the oven. Carefully lift the pork and the pears out and keep warm. Discard the cooked veg. They have served us well. Add the remaining perry, deglaze the tin and reduce the liquor by half. Immediately before serving, add the remaining thyme leaves and finely diced pear.