Pork belly with cacao and chili

Pork belly, one of our favourites

I know it starts to get difficult to keep track of our favourite meats now, but pork belly definitely comes in at the top. It doesn’t trump ox tail, but it is not too far behind. Anyways, this time I ventured to try something different. During our year in Dublin we ate a lot of pork belly and found some really nice recipes and this is an iteration of one of those.

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For seasoning cacao, cayenne pepper, chili and fennel.

A really nice combination is chili and cacao. It also goes really well with the fat of the pork belly. To really get a nice flavour use a lot (!) of seasoning. The fat can accommodate a lot of the seasoning and a good way of getting adequate exposure to the spices is to rub them into the meat. Make sure that your butcher helps you to slit the rind.

Fennel, cabbage and pork belly in the Schlemmertopf

Starting off I chopped up the fennel and wedged the cabbage and put in the bottom of the Schlemmertopf together with some water. Put the pork belly on top of the vegetables and add the chili, cacao and cayenne pepper. I used two table spoons of cacao and a pinch each of the cayenne and chili powder. However, with the result in mind I would suggest you use more spices and rub them into the pork belly really thoroughly. When serving the meat one will only get a really small slice of the crust and to compensate for that it is nice to have a lot of spices there. I will definitely use more spices next time around.

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The pork belly in the Schlemmertopf ready for the oven.

After the seasoning is done put the whole thing in the oven for as long as you can wait… No, but at least for a couple of hours. Depending on the time you have available you might want to tune the temperature accordingly. I used 160 °C for the first two hours and then turned it up to 210 °C for the concluding 30 minutes.

Before the last 30 minutes I removed the Schlemmertopf from the oven and added some feta cheese on the top. For this last part of the cooking I left the lid off, to allow the feta cheese to get a nice colour.

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The feta cheese topped pork belly straight out of the oven.

After waiting for the pork belly to finish I sliced it in thin slices and served with some fresh home grown salad from our balcony together with a glass of kombucha.

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The dinner. Finally after the long worthwhile wait.

Hope you found some inspiration from this outline of a recipe. Do you have any favourite seasoning for when you cook pork belly?

Happy paleo,

/Cecilia & Magnus

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