Take these tips from marinade master Neil Perry to spruce up your next roast.
Perfect pork crackling? Tips below from Neil Perry. Photo: William Meppem

For a cracking sandwich, serve the pork belly and onions on well-buttered, crusty sourdough.

ROAST PORK BELLY AND BALSAMIC ONIONS

3 small Spanish onions

Pea, mint and ricotta risotto.
Pea, mint and ricotta risotto.

sea salt

80ml balsamic vinegar, plus extra to serve

1kg pork belly

60ml red wine vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

300ml vegetable oil

extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Serves 4

The night before you intend to serve this dish, peel and cut the onions into sixths and sprinkle with sea salt. After about two hours wash and dry onions, place in a bowl and pour over the balsamic vinegar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove pork from the fridge about 3 hours before cooking. Using a sharp blade, make cuts in the skin from top to bottom, in the same direction, about 3mm apart. Then cut the other way to create small diamonds: don't cut into the flesh. Rub red wine vinegar into the skin, then rub salt into the skin. Set the pork aside for about an hour to dry.

Preheat oven to 180C. Put the pork on a wire rack in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Check the meat's core temperature - it should be about 71C. Remove pork from the oven and turn temperature down to about 160C. Rest pork in the oven for about 30 minutes. Be sure to check the pork's core temperature rises to about 75C.

Just before serving, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan until just smoking. Remove pork from the oven, and with a spoon, pour over the oil over the skin to complete the crackling.

Cut pork into thin slices. Drain and add the onions. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the meat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

PEA, MINT AND RICOTTA RISOTTO

300g frozen peas

1 1/2 litres chicken stock

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra

1/2 small red onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

325g arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp parmesan, grated, plus

extra to serve

2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tbsp mint, chopped, plus extra whole leaves to garnish

150g fresh ricotta

Serves 4

 

Cook the peas in plenty of boiling salted water then remove as soon as they rise to the surface. Refresh the peas in iced water and set aside.

Heat chicken stock over medium heat in a pot. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a little salt. Place a lid on the pan and let the ingredients sweat over low heat until soft.

Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly. After about 3 minutes the starch coming out of the rice will thicken the viscosity of the stock.

Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the wine is completely absorbed. Add enough stock to cover the rice and simmer, stirring occasionally.

As the stock is absorbed, add more to the rice to keep it moist, but not enough to drown it. It is important to continue stirring at this early stage or the rice will sink to the bottom and stick. After 15-18 minutes most of the stock should be used and the rice tender.

Add the peas, along with the cheese, butter, and any remaining stock. Cover, remove from the heat and rest for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the chopped mint and check seasoning.

To serve, place a dollop of ricotta in each bowl, drizzle with olive oil, give a good grind of grated pepper, and sprinkle with mint leaves and extra parmesan.

 

 HOT TIPS

  • This is a good basic risotto recipe. For a tasty variation, try adding boiled zucchinis with a teaspoon of chilli flakes. Chilli also goes well with the peas.
  • Serve the pork with roasted potatoes or pumpkin - it's also really nice with boiled broccolini.
  • Mustard fruits are a great accompaniment to serve with the pork belly dish.

 

SOMETHING TO DRINK

Riesling
This 2012 Dr Loosen ($20) off-dry riesling from Germany's Mosel Valley has a delicate nose of fresh green apple, white peach and white florals. The palate is fruity and slightly sweet, but feather light and refreshing. It's a perfect match for the pork belly.

 

Correction: The original resting temperature listed in the pork recipe was incorrect. It has been changed to 160C