Last Sunday seems to be so long ago and I am starting already to think about next Sunday dinner. If you do the same, you might want to read on. Mr T and I had friends over for dinner and I didn’t want to stay too long in the kitchen as 2 matches were on over lunchtime. I decided on a very simple soup I had on a regular basis when I lived in Turkey – Lentil Soup, warming and satisfying. For the main I opted for Pork Belly with a potato tortilla and green beans and a damn sexy chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (Carte d’Or – not homemade, still feeling awful over that). The pork was succulent and moist – it looked great coming out of the oven and the knife went through it like butter (after the crackling) and it looked very attractive on the plate.
This is a very easy Sunday dinner and you can be very relaxed cooking it. I got the meat from my favourite butcher, O’Flynn’s Brothers, and as always, they gave me fabulous meat. I got the skin scored (let your butcher do it – unless you have a really good knife). One big factor for getting a nice crackling, have the skin as dry as possible, dab it dry and dab it again. Any liquid will result in a soft skin – the layer of fat will stay soft and not crisp up at all. Also, fight your impulse to baste the meat – leave it alone.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium potato
125g red lentils
vegetable or chicken stock (enough to cover the lentils)
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion. Sautee until translucent (you don’t want to brown them). Add the chopped carrot and potato along with the tomato. Stir for a few minutes and add the stock (enough to cover the vegetables). Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins or until the lentils are soft. Transfer to a food processor and whizz up to the consistency you want (I like my soups creamy). Season to taste. Keep until needed. Before serving, heat up and pour into warmed bowls. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt and a swirl of oil and serve.
1.5kg pork belly (let the butcher score the skin for you)
Dab the meat dry. Pre-heat oven to 180C and heat oil and butter in a roasting tin.
Slice apples and onions and lay in bottom of roasting tin. Mix a tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of sea salt and rub it all over the skin – making sure you get into the cut lines. Lay the meat – skin-side up – on top of the apple/onion layer and put the tin into the pre-heated oven. Roast for 30 mins and turn the heat down to 140C. Roast for 3 hours – the result should be a perfect moist roast with a wonderful crackling on top.
Serve this with potatoes and vegetables. I made a tortilla out of baby potatoes, steamed some green beans (top them with roasted breadcrumbs – a great combination) and roasted pumpkin. Make a nice gravy from the meat juices and your guests will love you forever.