Inspired by Karen Martini in Where the Heart Is.
- 3 heads garlic
- 1 small bunch sage, leaves picked & roughly chopped
- 1T smoky paprika
- 2T fennel seeds, ground
- 2T olive oil
- 2kg pork belly, bones removed and skin scored (get your butcher to do this)
- 2T olive oil, extra
- 3 red onions
- 8 small apples
- 1C (250mL) dry white wine
- Preheat oven to 180C. Break garlic into individual cloves but leave the skins on. Place in a small ovenproof dish and bake for 20-30mins or until garlic is very soft. Allow to cool and then squeeze out soft flesh into a small bowl, discarding the skins. Stir through sage, paprika, fennel seeds and olive oil to form a chunky paste. Season.
- Place pork belly on a wire rack skin side up and position over the sink. Pour boiling water oven the skin to soften it then pat dry. Place belly on a clean surface skin side down and spread the paste in a long row down the center of the belly. Roll the belly into a log and tie with kitchen string to hold in place. If any of the garlic mix oozes out just stuff it back in the best you can.
- Increase oven temperature to 250C. Peel and slice each onion into three thick rounds and place in a layer on the bottom of a baking dish. Place pork on top of the onion with the join side down. Rub with extra olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt.
- Bake for 30mins. Reduce heat to 160C and add wine and 1C water. Score apples in a ring around their middles and place in the baking dish next to the pork. Bake for an additional 2 ½ to 3 hours or until pork is tender inside and the skin is golden. Drain cooking juices into a saucepan and allow pork to rest in a warm place. While the pork is resting bring juices to a simmer to reduce slightly. To serve slice pork into round approx 1cm thick divide pork slices, onion and apples between 8 warmed plates. Drizzle over reduced juices and serve immediately.
many thanks to StoneSoup