Andaluz Bar head chef Scott Alfonso (scroll down to check out his tattoos) shares his pork recipe.
RECIPE: Slow-Cooked Pork Belly with Pear & Ginger
Serves 6-81/2 pork belly, boneless
2 cinnamon quills
4 bay leaves
6 pieces star anise
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 sprig thyme
1 cinnamon quill
2 pieces star anise
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
Lay down two pieces of cling wrap on work bench, one on top of the other. Be sure that the lengths are sufficient size to fully wrap around the pork belly. Place pork belly skin-side down on the wrap and break up the cinnamon quills, spreading them evenly over the flesh. Distribute the bay leaves, first lot of star anise and peppercorns in the same fashion over the pork. Tightly fold over the cling wrap from either side to seal up the pork. Take a good length of aluminium foil and wrap the pork again being sure to cover the entire cling wrap. Place the pork in an oven tray skin-side down and put into the oven at 140C and roast for 4 hours.
While pork is cooking, peel the pears and the ginger. Remove the cores of the pears, and chop them into about eight pieces per pear. Slice the ginger thinly. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and saute the onion, garlic and ginger until softened (about 3 minutes). Add the aromatics and herbs and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pears and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the vinegar and cook for a further 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and pull out the cinnamon and second lot of star anise.
Place mixture into a food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency. When pork has cooked, remove from oven and slit open the parcel, allowing the heat to escape. When cool enough to handle, remove pork and place on to clean tray. Remove the aromatics from the flesh and place another tray on the top. Place into the fridge with some weight on top and allow to press overnight.
When ready to serve, cut the pork into desired portions and score the skin. Place pork skin-side down in a pan with a bit of oil over medium heat and cook on stove until skin begins to crisp up. Slide pan into 220C oven and cook for a further 8 minutes (or longer depending on how big pieces are). Remove from oven and allow to rest. Skewer the flesh to ensure inside is hot. Serve pork with a favourite vegetable garnish and a spoon of the pear and ginger relish.