Slow-cooked pork belly with crab apple jelly and caramelised damsons, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

06 September 2010
Slow-cooked pork belly with crab apple jelly and caramelised damsons, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

This recipe, for slow-cooked pork belly with crab apple jelly and caramelised damsons, makes the most of ingredients that are at their best in September. For more seasonal recipes from Madalene Bonvini-Hamel of the, see our feature" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Flavours of September.

(Serves six)

For the slow-cooked pork belly • 1kg belly of pork, skin removed and fat trimmed evenly
• 30ml honey
• 40ml soy sauce
• 40ml Port
• 2 whole cinnamon sticks
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 clove of garlic lightly crushed
• 1tsp coriander seeds

For the crab apple jelly • 1kg crab apples, cleaned and cut in half
• Juice of one lemon
• 700g caster sugar

For the caramelised damsons

• 8 damsons
• 1tbs caster sugar
• 1tbs unsalted butter
• 1 clove, crushed


Slow-cooked pork belly Heat the water bath to 83°C. Prepare the pork belly by removing all the hairs with a razor.

Stir the rest of the ingredients together to make the marinade.

Put the belly of pork into a large vacuum bag and add the marinade. Seal the belly twice on hard vacuum - the vacuum opens the pores of the pork and the marinade penetrates faster and more effectively.

Cook the pork belly in the preheated water bath for 12 hours, then chill the cooked pork in iced water and refrigerate until needed.

Once the pork is cold and set, cut into portion sizes.

Crab apple jelly Wash the wild apples a couple of times in clean cold water, using a nailbrush to remove any dirt and a sharp paring knife to remove bruises.

Cut the apples in half, then place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Use a small side plate to weigh the apples down to prevent them from floating.

Bring the apples to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the apples cool completely.

Pour the apples into a jelly bag or large sieve lined with muslin and let it hang overnight to ensure that all the goodness passes into the liquid.

The following day, measure the liquid: use 10 parts of apple liquid to seven parts of caster sugar.

Place the sugar, liquid and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. After removing the impurities, turn to a gentle simmer. Do not boil too fast as it will make the jelly cloudy, but continue to cook the jelly for 40-45 minutes.

Test the jelly by chilling a small plate in the fridge, then pour a tablespoon of jelly on to the cold plate. If the jelly sets and you can run your finger through it and it does not run, then it is ready.

Let the jelly cool slightly before you pour it into warm, clean sterilised glass jars.

Allow the crab apple jelly to set completely before serving.

Caramelised damsons Wash the damsons, cut in half and remove the stones.

Heat butter in a large non-stick frying pan until it foams. Toss the damsons in the sugar and crushed clove and sauté them in the foaming butter until golden brown and caramelised. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Drain on kitchen paper.

To serve Heat a non-stick frying pan with a bit of butter, and caramelise the pork belly until golden and heated all the way through.

Serve the pork on mashed potato, port-braised turnip and caramelised damsons, with the crab apple jelly on the side. Drizzle with rapeseed oil and port sauce. Serve immediately.

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