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Double-cooked belly pork with yam

11 September 2006

Like cassoulet this is a dish that improves with long cooking and reheating. At Fung Shing it is made in a large batch before portioning out for reheating in individual casseroles. The pork and yam becomes so tender that care must be taken to preserve the layers intact when transferring it to the individual casseroles.

Ingredients

4kg of belly pork as sheets
3 squares of red bean curd
1tsp five spice powder
2tsp dried tangerine peel
2tbs light soy sauce
1tbs hoisin sauce
4 cloves garlic crushed
1tsp salt
2tsp sugar
1tsp white pepper

Method

Boil the sheets of belly pork in water until cooked. Take out and cool then rub 1tbs light soy sauce into the skin side and fry in a little oil until the skin bubbles.

Remove. Wash in cold water. Peel and slice the yam and slice the pork into 1cm slices like thick bacon rashers discarding the bones. Stand alternate slices of yam and pork in a casserole and add the remaining ingredients.

Cook in a slow oven. You can serve the dish after an hour-and-a-half but it is better to let it go cold and to portion in up for reheating.

Petit sale in your own kitchen

When cooking the belly after it has been cured you can judge the saltiness of the meat by tasting the cooking water as you boil the joint. If after 10 minutes the cooking liquor is too salty pour it away and replace with fresh boiling water.

To make petit saléby the dry salting method rub the belly pork pieces with the aromatic salt mixture and then layer in a clean crock or plastic bucket with more curing salt.

You will need about 1kg salt mixture for every 5kg of pork.

Finally add a heavy plate to stop the pork floating (the salt and meat juices combine to make a great deal of brine). Leave the belly in the cure for at least a week.

In Larousse Gastronomique, preservation times are given as "two to three weeks for spare rib chops one month for knuckle of ham and much longer for belly pork". Other cuts of pork - loin as chops or in a piece or rolled shoulder - will also benefit from several days in the brine crock as it helps bring out their flavour.

Once the brine is established you can reuse it and simply add further bits of meat.

It is recommended that you use fresh brine every six months.

Ingredients for curing salt

1kg salt
25g saltpeter
25g black peppercorns
Spices to taste - juniper berries mace bay leaves thyme cloves

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