Cider briased pork belly is delicious served with apple sauce, gravy and roast vegetables
After all the sweet treats of recent weeks it's timely to go back to some healthy recipes this week.
Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, have launched a campaign to promote Irish pork and with it they have some delicious recipes to try.
Whether you’re looking for a quick midweek meal or want to impress your guests at the weekend pork is the perfect option.
Did you know lean pork only contains 4% fat and it’s a great source of high quality protein?
Whether you are watching your weight, blood pressure, heart health or just want to eat healthily, pork is a great choice and there is a pork recipe for every occasion on the Bord Bia website bordbia.ie.
Choose pork with the Bord Bia Quality Mark for the highest standards verified at every stage.
I’ve chosen just two of the recipes to give you a ‘taster’ of the variety of dishes that star pork.
Cider Braised Pork Belly
1½kg pork belly, skin on and scored
Salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, roughly diced
1 carrot, roughly diced
1 celery stick, roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
500mls dry cider
2 teasp. cornflour or potato flour dissolved in a little water
Season the pork then place it in a roasting tray. Arrange all the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Pour in cider, cover with tin foil and braise in the oven at Gas mark 1, 150°C (300°F) for 3 hours. The belly is done when you can pierce the flesh easily.
Remove the pork from the oven. Line another roasting tin or tray with greaseproof paper and carefully transfer the pork belly onto it. You can remove the bones at this stage. Set aside the original roasting tin to make the gravy.
Increase the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F). Place the roasting tin into the hot oven and leave for 20-25 minutes to crisp the skin.
To make the gravy: Place the roasting tin over a medium heat. Drain off the fat. Then stir in the cornflour mixture. Continue stirring until it the sauce thickens. Taste and season then simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour through a sieve into a gravy boat.
Pork Meatball Subs
400g pork mince
40g hard cheese, grated
1 large egg
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F).
Mix together the pork, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into 16 small meatballs.
Put the meatballs, in a single layer, in an ovenproof dish and drizzle over the olive oil. Toss gently. Place in the oven and cook until golden, about 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking make the tomato sauce. In a small sauce pan, heat the chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer and reduce while the meatballs are cooking.
When meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and pour the tomato sauce over them. Mix to combine.
To serve: Split the rolls lengthwise, but not all the way through. Place them on a baking sheets.
Add four meatballs to each roll along with sauce, then top with the slices of cheese. Place under a hot grill until the cheese has melted, about 3-4 minutes.
You could also serve the meatballs and tomato sauce with pasta instead of in the bread rolls.