Roulade of Pork Belly, Braised Red Cabbage and Apple Compote

by thomandaimee


It was quite a dilemma when deciding on a main course. Many conditions came into play, whether it was enough to fill stomachs, whether the flavours complement the rest of the menu, whether it could hold the mantle of the “Leading Actor”, and the most crucial – whether we could execute it well against pressure. At the very end,  it came down to two contenders: the pig or the duck. Well, the pig got the part for obvious reasons.

Roulade of Pork Belly, Braised Red Cabbage and Apple Compote
Adapted from Mark Dodson

Serves 10

2.25kg pork belly
2 carrots
1 stalk celery
1.5 yellow onion
4 bay leaves
10 cloves
6 star anise

For the Pork sauce
1 litre of veal stock
1 tablespoon honey

For the Red cabbage
50g dark brown sugar
150ml red wine vinegar
1 red cabbage, finely shredded

For the Apple compote
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoon caster sugar
170ml water

For the Confit Shallots
20 shallots, peeled
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Olive oil

For the Pomme Cocotte
20 baby potatoes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt, to season
Olive Oil

Directions

If possible, buy the pork belly pre-skinned and rolled. Otherwise, make sure your knife is sharp to make the grueling task an easier one like we did. This process must be done slowly and patiently.

First, skin the pork belly. Then slice the pork belly horizontally from the right till there is an inch left uncut. The pork belly should open up like a book. Roll the pork like a swiss roll and tie it with kitchen’s string horizontally and vertically. Do not tie it too tightly as the pork will expand when cooked.

Dice the carrots, celery, and onions to a similar size and place into a large pot. Add the bay leaves, cloves and star anise. Place the pork belly on top of the vegetables and cover with water. Make sure the pork belly is covered with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4 hours.

Then remove from heat and allow the pork to cool in the liquid. Once cooled, strain and reserve the braising liquid. Leave the pork to rest in the braising liquid overnight in the fridge.

The next day, remove pork belly from the braising liquid. Skim off as much fat from the braising liquid as possible. Add the veal stock to the braising liquid and cook until it resembles a sauce. Add honey to finish and season with salt if necessary.

To make the potatoes, preheat oven to 160C. Pop the baby potatoes and crushed garlic in and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with salt and then bake potatoes for 30-45 minutes, or until tender.

While the potatoes are baking and the sauce is reducing, start on the cabbage. Dissolve sugar in red wine vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the cabbage and allow the cabbage to sweat the juices out. Cook until the cabbage is tender. If there is a lot of residual liquid, strain and reduce liquid to a thin syrup before adding it back to the cabbage.

To make the confit shallots, peel the shallots and leave it whole. Place shallots and thyme into a saucepan and cover it with olive oil. Place under very low heat. The oil should only bubble tiny bubbles; the shallots should not brown. Cook for 45 minutes then leave to cool in the oil.

To make the apple compote, add diced apples with the sugar and water to a pan. Cook on a low heat until tender, and resembles a chunky apple sauce.

To finish, slowly slice the pork belly into 10 even pieces. Heat a little vegetable oil in the pan on high heat and sear the pork belly until golden. Add the shallots and potatoes to the pan to heat through. Make sure the pork sauce is heated on the side.

To serve, place the hot cabbage in the centre of the plate, followed by the pork belly. Surround it with the confit shallots and baby potatoes. Drizzle the pork with the sauce and finish with a large spoonful of the apple compote.

TIPS:

You can make a bigger batch of confit shallots for other purposes. They go so well in other dishes such as pasta, as they develop their sweetness whilst cooking gently in the oil. Just make sure that the oil covers the shallots when cooking. You can keep confit shallots for up to 3 months. Pop them in a jar and make sure that they are covered in the oil. You can also use the oil for the same purposes.

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