There is something so indulgent about this Pork Belly Roast with Baked Apples. This recipe perfects that beautifully soft and juicy flesh under that crisp and crunchy layer of crackling. And yet it is a meat that is still relatively cheap and so easy to prepare. It does require a little cooking time but what I like about it is that you can simply shut the oven door and sit back for most of it, while the meat roasting away will fill your kitchen with that beautiful home cooking smell.
For me this is the perfect Sunday Lunch recipe. As I mentioned, it really doesn’t require much hands on time and it is also a cheap cut of meat making it a perfect dish to feed a large crowd. Sunday lunch is something that I both admire the British for and miss here in Germany. Of course it is probably tradition in most places, Germany included, to gather for a big meal earlier on it the day on a Sunday. It is a day when most people have free and families can get together and relax. Particularly here in Germany where all shops are closed so really all you can do is go out and eat! But there is something special about that Sunday lunch back home. Those big plates of roast dinners smothered in gravy. Or pieces of fish baked in the oven and served with plenty of seasonal veg on the side. And of course there are the famous Pub Lunches, with groups gathered to enjoy the afternoon, indulge in good food and knock back a few glasses of wine. I mean really, what else were Sundays made for!?
Berlin has got better when it comes to offering up a decent Sunday Lunch. Salt n Bone do their weekly Roast and Big Sur have recently also started doing the same. But I still find that the best place go is in my kitchen! And while I love a traditional Roast Chicken with Stuffing and all the trimmings, this Pork Belly Roast with Baked Apples is another popular dish in my home!
Pork belly is quite a fatty piece of meat, so while it is cheap and great to feed a crowd I do recommend to not have it on your regular weekly Sunday meal plan! That being said, it is a very rich and heavy dish that you really don’t need to pile the plates up high. I serve this with some roast potatoes and plenty of seasonal veg on the side. You don’t need a gravy. I simply add a spoonful of the juices from the roasting tin onto the plates before serving.
This recipe serves 4 good portions, just double it up to serve more. I like to use pieces of pork belly with the bone as it keeps the meat juicy and tender but you can also use without.
- 700g pork belly
- 3 medium size cooking apples (roughly sliced, core thrown out, skins left on)
- Handful of mixed fresh herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary - all roughly torn or chopped)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 cloves (crushed)
- Juice and zest of half a lemon
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
- Black pepper/ salt
- Olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
- Score the top of the pork belly skin with a sharp knife. You only need to do this 3 or 4 times. Place the meat into a roasting tin and pour over the lemon juice. Rub in the lemon zest, garlic, honey and cloves. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and then drizzle a good glug of olive oil over the top of the meat. Give the pork belly and good rub on both sides and place in the hot oven for 25 mins.
- Turn the oven down to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Leave the meat in the oven for another 1 and half hours.
- After the 1 and half hours add the apples around the sides of the pork belly. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and also add half of the mixed fresh herbs to the roasting tin. Place some of them under the meat or in the juices to stop them from burning and crisping up. Put everything back in the oven for another 30 mins.
- After 30 mins turn the heat back up to 220C/ 200C fan/gas 7 to get that crackling all bubbling and fizzing again before serving. Keep in the oven for another 20/25 mins.
- Take the pork belly out of the oven and leave it in the roasting tin with all the other ingredients. Wrap some tin foil over the top and leave to rest for around 10/15 mins.
- Carve up the pork belly into slices or chunks and serve with bits of the soft apples. Add a spoonful of the delicious juices and herbs on top of each serving on it's place. I like to serve some roast potatoes and seasonal veg on the side.