Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stewed belly pork - and crackling

Poaching or stewing belly pork does not mean that you cannot crackle the skin. On the contrary, it may help, because it will break down the collagen, which is what causes rubberiness. The crackling above comes from slices of belly pork, simmered in a stew with beans.

About 30 minutes from the end of cooking, lift the pork from the stew, and slice off the rind. Return the pork to the pot.

Line a grill pan with foil, and pour on to it about a tbsp of oil. Pat dry the pork rinds (which will be sticky). Toss them in the oil in the pan, and arrange skin-side up. Grill them at full setting at first, but turn down the heat as soon as they start to make crackling noises. The danger is, if you keep them too close to a high flame, that they will burn before turning crisp. I move the pan down to the floor of the grill.

The process will probably take about 15 to 20 minutes.


elwyn said...

Hello Nicholas,
Your crackling looks very crisp and crunchy, not at all rubbery. I only knew of the method of roasting pork to achieve the crackled rind and I was most impressed by your method and rationale behind it for the pork belly (a cut very much in favour at the moment).

I was interested to see you did not rub salt into the skin - I have read that helps to get a crisp crackling.

A Hungarian-style butcher in Melbourne sells the crackling from a large tub as a stand alone item, something for theHomer Simpson diet.

Nicholas Clee said...

I wasn't sure that this needed any more salt - the purpose of which, I believe, is to extract water. That process was already well advanced.

Some cooks assert that you shouldn't oil the skin. But as oil is an effective conductor of heat, while at the same time helping to protect against excessive scorching, I think that it must be useful.

If I served simply crackling, with perhaps chocolate cake to follow, certain members of my family would be very happy.