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Author Notes: This was my first foray into using pork belly. In this recipe, the pork belly simmers whole in stock and cider with a seasonal variety of apples and vegetables. After several hours, you finish the pork in the oven in order to crisp the top layer of fat. You then add chunks of the pork and fat back into the stew...very rich and delicious. —WinnieAb
- 3 lb. pork belly
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped (white parts only)
- 2 large turnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 head of savoy cabbage, cored and chopped
- 2 large apples, peeled and chopped
- leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 cups water
- course sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Place pork belly in large soup pot. Add the vegetables, apples, and thyme and then pour in the chicken stock, cider and water. The pork belly should be just about covered with liquid.
- Bring to a boil and skim the surface of any impurities.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 3 1/2 hours.
- Remove pork belly and place fat side up in a cast iron skillet or other oven-proof dish, Add some of the soup to the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle the pork belly with course salt and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper and place in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Raise the heat of the oven to 450°F and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the pork from the oven and allow to cool a bit before cutting into chunks. Taste the soup and add 2 tsp. of salt (or to taste).
- Serve chunks of the pork belly in soup bowls with the vegetables and broth ladled over the top.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pork with Cider