Food & Drink

Crispy Pork Belly with Japanese sauce

THIS WEEK Celebrity Chef from Ready Steady Cook & Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala shares his slow roasted Pork Belly recipe with a Japanese twist.

This weekend was Steven Eusden’s 50 something birthday! Steven and Michel Eusden are close friends, namesakes and very successful newspaper owners.

They own and run this paper (RTN) as well as the Euro Weekly News and others (Euro Weekly News has to be the most popular certainly the most award winning newspaper on the Costa del Sol.)

So I guess I work for them! They both have huge energy and fountains of business acumen; they are an inspiration to me and many others. Michel has not been well for many years but has recently made a miraculous recovery, she has stayed strong and her friends have stayed strong with her.

So when we were invited to the party of course we were delighted, we have always loved them both. Wine and drinks flowed and along with a paella and BBQ sausages there was a hog roast with crackling and apple sauce.

It reminded me that I have not cooked crispy pork belly for a while. The last time I cooked this dish was for some well knownFormula 1 drivers when I ran their hospitality. It was served at the end of a long weekend racing but I hadn’t considered that they would bring some of the Arab investors so I had to think quickly on my feet and serve chicken cooked with the same sauce!

I love slow cooked pork belly with crispy crackling with apple sauce – to be honest food never gets much better than that if you do it right.

So this week I’m sharing a pork belly recipe worthy of a Michelin star, it is easy to follow and as winter looms, it’s appropriate, affordable and spectacular!

So where do you buy the pork? We have specialist suppliers but I often pop into the market in Fuengirola called Merco Central near the train station.

There is a great butcher up their escalator called Scotty (Scottish!) lovely guy and he sells fabulous meat – his pork belly is amazing.

Find him and say that you are a friend of mine and he will… probably chuck you out! Seriously though, he will get you what you want and his quality is excellent.

Follow my recipe carefully and enjoy a Sunday lunch with pork belly for a change. It will leave everyone speechless…which is a good thing – tranquillo is often most welcome!

Crispy Pork Belly  ( serves 6)


1.5kg pork belly skin and bones left on

  • 100g of Maldon salt
  • 3 onions, peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
  • 4 celery sticks, washed and roughly diced
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic cut in half horizontally
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • Chicken stock, to cover meat but stop before the skin on the top

For Apple Puree

  • 6 Bramley apples large( cored)
  • 100g of butter, diced
  • 2 tbsp of white sugar
  • Maldon salt
  • Approx50ml of water

Method for cooking the Pork

  1. Score the fat and rub the Maldon salt into the pork belly fat and a little into the flesh and leave overnight in the fridge, or for at least 12 hours. In the morning rub off the salt in order that it isn’t too salty.
  2. Place the pork belly in a deep roasting tray, arrange all the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Cover with the chicken stock and slow cook in a pre heated oven at 180C for 20 mins to seal it and then lower heat to 130°C ( gas 1) and cook for 3 hours. The belly is cooked when you can pull away the meat and it falls apart easily.
  3. Remove from the oven and let it rest. I often press the pork belly at this stage with skin side down and a heavy tray on top leaving it in the fridge overnight, so that I can cut perfectly neat squares and then I crisp the fat when cooking each portion but at home if you are eating it now there is no need for this stage.
  4. Once the pork is cooked, increase the oven temperature to 200°C/gas mark 6 and cook for an extra 10 minutes so the crackling bubbles up nicely
  5. If you are having trouble with the crackling, simply add some olive oil to a hot heavy frying pan and add the pork skin-side down. Make sure you press down to get the entire surface well-crackled. Once you are happy with the crackling, leave the pork to rest for at least 15 mins.

Make the apple puree

  1. Cut the apples into even pieces and in a thick bottomed pan (or on a roasting tray) add the butter sugar and water. Stir and cook until apples are soft and tender. Try not to colour them
  2. Put cooked apples into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside for later.

For the Japanese sauce


3 tbsp of good quality low salt soy (or you can use ready made Teriyaki sauce)
1 lime juiced1cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and chopped very finely
1 clove garlic chopped finely
1 Jalapeno chilli chopped finely (the seeds can be taken out if you prefer less heat)
1 bunch of coriander chopped
50ml of sesame oil
50ml of rice wine ( sake) or Mirin wine ( or a sweet white wine)
2 tbsp of honey

Method for sauce

  1. Simply bring all the ingredients together in a sauce pan and warm through. Taste and add more or less honey and or chilli depending on taste.
  2. Serve separately
GOOD FRIENDS: Steven Saunders (left) and Steven Euesden

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