Sunday = mandatory roast in my house, as it does for many others. It was just the two of us, so I cooked a small hunk of pork belly. I bought a big bit at the meat counter, and in a moment of restraint I asked the nice lady to cut it into two pieces, as I knew that if she didn't, I would slow roast the lot for just the pair of us, leaving us resembling the animal we just devoured.
This recipe comes from a friend, I ate it at her house and had to have the recipe and it never fails. Just make sure you leave enough time to cook it nice and slowly.
Snip off any string from the joint and lay it flat, skin side up. Make sure the skin is scored, it normally already is when bought from the supermarket. Sprinkle salt liberally over the entire skin surface and leave for half an hour. Meanwhile heat your oven to about 220 degrees.
In a pestle and mortar bash up a few teaspoons of fennel seeds (they do eventually grind up, trust me, most satisfying!) then add about 4 cloves of garlic and salt, bash until you have a bit of a paste going on. Add a small splash of olive oil to loosen it up.
After half an hour of 'salting' brush off the excess salt from the pork and use kitchen roll to mop up any moisture from the skin (the salt draws it out to help with the crackling). Coat the flesh side of Mr Piggy with the paste, lay in a baking try, skin side up and blast in your hot oven for at least half an hour, you want the crackling to have really started forming, leave it longer if not. Once you are happy turn the heat down to 150 degrees and roast for about 2 hours until the meat is really really tender.
Sometimes you can make a gravy from the juices, but normally when I do it the garlic has caused too much burnt caramelly mess. I really do think this is the best way to deal with pork belly. Crackling should now be tooth crackingly good. Oink.