These delicious and comforting cider braised pork belly strips are perfect for enjoying this autumn! Using simple, wholesome ingredients, let the cider do all the work! As it bubbles away, cooking to perfection in the oven, you’re left with with a flavoursome and hearty dish. Everyone loves the classic apple and pork flavour combo and this dish is no exception to the rule.
Cider braised pork belly strips are a simple meat, yet they taste amazing! They are also perfect with any kind of potato you fancy. From creamy mash to crispy roast, comforting jacket or even hash browns like us.
Pork belly is a perfect meat to use when slow cooking. Thanks to its fat content, it gives it so much flavour. Enjoy them on the barbecue, in a stew or oven baked, like in this recipe.
In your local supermarket, you will find whole pork belly or ready sliced to choose from. It doesn’t matter which ones you get but whole may come with skin on (which isn’t needed for this recipe).
For recipes with the skin on, you can try this muscovado roasted pork belly with salsa verde or this slow roast pork belly with plum sauce.
The famous combination of pork and apple has been around for centuries. They say this all started when farmers used to feed pigs old apples from the orchard. Legend has it, that you could actually taste the apple in the pork when eating it. Either way it’s one of my favourites! You can enjoy the same flavour combo here, with the use of cider and pork. Letting the cider braise in the pork, leaves a delicious subtle sweetness, which pairs perfectly with the pork belly.
A little celery, onion and garlic is used to help create the delicious cider sauce. You can enjoy it as it is with all of the veg, or to get a little more fancy, strain the liquid away from the veg and use it as a gravy. You can then reduce the liquid (or add a little more if needed), skim the fat off and then thicken with a little cornflour. Pour that over the top of the pork, potatoes and some sauteed cabbage for a delicious crowd-pleasing dish.
Cider Braised Pork Belly
- 750-800 g pork belly, skin removed, cut into strips roughly 2-3 per person
- 450 ml cider scrumpy works best
- 2 cloves of garlic roughly sliced
- 1 onion roughly small chopped
- 1 Stick of celery roughly small sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 1-2 tbsp of cornflour optional for gravy
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 2/150°C/300°F.
- Generously season the belly strips. Add about a tablespoon of oil and coat well. Keep to one side.
- Add the baking tray on top of the stove. Add another tablespoon of oil and heat until smoking hot.
- Add the pork strips and seer well on each side, for around 2 minutes. Add in the celery, onion and garlic and mix in well. Cook for a few more minutes to get colour. Tip in the cider and bring to a boil. Cover well with either a lid or a foil but be careful as the tray will be hot!
- Bake for one hour. Remove the foil and bake for around 45 minutes more, turning the strips over half way through.
For making the gravy (optional)
- Once cooked, remove the pork from the tray and then turn the oven up to max (see why in the next few steps).
- Strain the liquid from the tray used to cook the pork belly into a saucepan, squeezing the vegetables as much as you can to get all the flavour. Assess how much liquid you have. You can add some water at this point if you want more gravy.
- You can now add the pork back to the tray and into the high heated oven, if you want, to crisp it up slightly.
- Take your saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and skim as much fat off as you can, using a ladle or big spoon. This will be the clear liquid on top of the gravy.
- If you want to thicken it, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch) to a touch of water in small bowl and mix until it turns into a paste. Add this to the gravy, to your desired thickness. Cook out for a few minutes and then season to taste.
- Serve with your favourite potatoes and some sauteed cabbage.