Pork belly with pinot and plum sauce and saltbush

Pork belly with pinot and plum sauce and saltbush. P
Pork belly with pinot and plum sauce and saltbush. P Photo: Katrina Meynink

Crunchy, salty, sweet and fatty – this is easily the dish to help you endure the third cousins and annoying uncle if required. If you can't track down saltbush, samphire is a decent substitute.

Ingredients

PORK BELLY

1.2kg (approx.) pork belly, skin scored 1cm on the diagonal

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt flakes

1 lemon, sliced

PINOT AND PLUM SAUCE

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 brown onion, sliced

Plum and pinot sauce

1 x 800g tin plums, strained and pitted (about 500g fruit)

1 cup (250ml) pinot wine

375g raw sugar

200ml apple cider vinegar

20g piece of ginger, finely grated

2 cinnamon quills

2 star anise

2 tsp yellow mustard powder

TO SERVE

1 bunch saltbush

sea salt flakes

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Pat the pork dry using paper towel. Massage the oil and salt into the scored skin then place the pork skin-side-down in a roasting dish and roast for 90 minutes. (Make sure it is a snug fit as the pork will shrink considerably while cooking.)

3. While the pork is cooking, add the plum and pinot sauce ingredients to a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to the boil and once actively bubbling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for the same time as the pork is in the oven. Once it has reduced to a sticky but still runny texture (about half), remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove cinnamon and star anise, pour the sauce into a blender and pulse briefly – it shouldn't be completely smooth and uniform. Season and set aside until serving.

4. Remove the pork from the oven and carefully transfer to a chopping board. Place the lemon, garlic and onion into the roasting dish, and place the pork, skin-side-up over the lemon and onion pieces. Increase the oven temperature to 200C and return the pork to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Rest the meat for 10 minutes, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat from the roasting pan.

5. Pick 3 to 4 tablespoons of saltbush leaves. Working quickly, add the reserved pork fat to a frypan and place over high heat. Add the picked saltbush leaves and stir-fry for about 45 seconds – you want to coat the leaves in fat and for them to soften slightly.

6. Layer a few stalks of saltbush onto a serving platter. Place the pork on the saltbush and season generously with salt.

7. Spoon the plum and pinot sauce over the pork and top with the stir-fried saltbush leaves. Serve immediately.