Often associated with the expense and pageantry of a local fiesta or important family events and ceremonies, lechon’s crunchy crackling and meat that’s tender to the bite can easily be replicated in the kitchen with the smaller—but still flavorful—cut of pork belly prepared with some care. If you’re hankering for the taste of lechon but only need to serve a few people, this recipe is perfect for your culinary needs.
Use fragrant lemongrass (also known as tanglad), oregano leaves and whole garlic bulbs to add an element of herbiness to the meat and make it delicious even if there isn’t a mouthful of crisp skin to go with it. The careful simmering and eventual roasting will result in a lechon-like pork belly that you’ll be proud to serve on the dinner table with a bottle of sarsa and plenty of ice-cold soda to cut through.
- 1.5 kg pork belly slab, skin on
- 3 whole garlic bulbs, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ cup oregano leaves, washed then chopped
- 3 red onions, peeled and chopped around 4 – 5 lemongrass stalks, sliced the zest from 1 lemon
- juice from 1 lemon
- a little over 1/8 cup salt, plus more for an even rub around the pork
- 4 tablespoons crushed black pepper
- Combine all the aromatics in a bowl and mix well.
- Lightly mash everything together with the back of a spoon.
- Alternatively, use a food processor to bring everything together with only around 2-3 pulses.With the skin side down, rub the mixture all over the meat.
- Roll the slab, carefully invert the meat and secure it with butcher’s twine.
- It’s okay if there are a few pieces of herbs that fall off, you can place it back later.
- Rub coarse salt all over the meat, including the skin.
- With a paring knife or fork, poke the skin of the meat. This will ensure a nice crackling.
- Transfer it to a roasting fitted with a rack and the bottom lined with foil.
- Place it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. This will dry the skin, which helps the crackling form.
- Preheat the oven to 160 C. Just to be sure, pat the skin of the pork dry with a paper towel. Roast the pork for 5 hours.
- Afterwards, increase the temperature to 220 C, and allow the pork’s crackling to form. This will take another 30 minutes to an hour.
- When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before slicing. Enjoy!
Source : The Hungry Giant
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