Monthly Mystery Munchies #35: Rolled roast pork belly with crackling


 

Aaaaand we’re back! After taking a break, Ann and I are back with our Monthly Mystery Munchies. Sometimes life gets busy and a reshuffling is in order, but we always intended to continue with our monthly blogging challenge. This months’s theme: roast.

The Husband and I recently went away to a small town called Tulbagh. It was snowing and we spent the majority of our time visiting wine farms. Breakfast: wine tasting. Lunch: wine tasting and food. Dinner: more wine. And cheese. So much cheese. During our trip, we discovered a gem of a restaurant in the Tulbagh Hotel. The Husband was so taken with their roast pork belly that we made three trips to the hotel. I promised to attempt it when we got home, but I was nervous about the crackling. So many different recipes and instructions on the Internet, but I tried, and this happened. It worked! Crackling, it turns out, is not difficult if you use the right temperatures and dry the pork in the fridge for a few hours before cooking it. So, here it is – rolled pork belly.

Ann, it’s great to be back! I am super excited to continue our Monthly Mystery Munchies and to try your recipe. Folks, please hop over to Grubbs n Critters for delicious recipes. Thank you for the continued friendship. Also, here’s to keeping those ducks alive!

Rolled roast pork belly with crackling

Supplies:

1kg pre-rolled boneless pork belly
2 tablespoons cracked sea salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
3 garlic cloves, sliced

Making it Happen:

Mix all the ingredients, score the pork but be careful not to cut into the meat. Rub the ingredients all over the pork, and underneath, making sure you rub salt into the scored fat. Place two sheets of kitchen towel on a plate, position the pork on top and refrigerate, uncovered, for four hours.

Remove the pork from the fridge half an hour before roasting to let it reach room temperateure.

Preheat oven to 220°C (450°F). Place pork on a wire rack on top op a roasting tray. Fill the tray with boiling water, and roast for 40 minutes until the skin is crackling.

Turn down the oven to 180°C (350°F) and roast for another 1 hour. After 30 minutes, cover the pork with tin foil (shiny side in). Pump the oven back up to 220°C (450°F) for the last 15 minutes.

Remove pork from the oven and let it stand for 20 minutes, covered, until you slice it. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. 

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Ratatouille

Ratatouille 5This traditional French vegetarian dish is not only bursting with flavour, but healthy and easy too. Traditionally, all the vegetables were cooked separately, but nowadays they’re all done in one pan. Ratatouille can be served as a side dish with rice and meat, making it a firm favourite in this home. I use baby tomatoes for their sweetness, but you can use regular tomatoes too. The vegetables are sautéed together, bringing all of the wonderful different flavours to one dish, and the herbs emphasizing its freshness. The olive oil is not only used as a lubricant, but for its flavour. Everything in this dish is fresh, wholesome and delicious!

As a side note: I planned this post before the attacks in Paris. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these atrocities.

Ratatouille

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Supplies:

Ratatouille 101 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 aubergines (egg plants), cut into half-inch slices
6 zucchinis (courgettes/baby marrows), sliced lengthways and then crossways
2 assorted bell peppers (I used red & yellow), sliced
500g baby tomatoes, halved
1 x tin whole peeled tomatoes
Fresh basil
Fresh lemon thyme (you can use regular thyme too)
Flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Ratatouille 61. In a large pan on medium heat, pour in half the olive oil and fry the garlic, onions and peppers for 2 minutes, then turn down the heat to low and sauté until the veggies have softened and the onions are lightly browned, about 5 additional minutes.

 

Ratatouille 72. Add the aubergines (egg plants) and zucchinis (courgettes/baby marrows), drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the veggies and saute with the lid on for 5 minutes.

 

 

Ratatouille 83. Add the baby tomatoes and tinned tomatoes, 5 basil leaves, a handful of Italian parsley and fresh thyme, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes until the veggies are sticky and sweet. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

 

Ratatouille 9

 

Creamy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Shiitake mushrooms add a woody flavour and meaty texture to a traditional creamy mushroom soup so if you’re looking for a little something extra, this is your guy. It involves frying and simmering and I use the same pot so it’s low on cleaning. I like the convenience factor! Delicious as a soup, this recipe can be used as a sauce too because when it boils down, it’s thick enough to pour over a juicy steak or tender chicken breasts. Versatility and convenience plus it takes half an hour and doesn’t require you to monitor it throughout, just the occasional stir once it’s simmering.

Prep time: 5 minutes     Cooking time: 30 minutes

Shiitake Mushroom Soup Ingredients120g shiitake mushrooms
400g white button mushrooms, chopped
6 leeks, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
750ml (¾litre) low sodium vegetable stock (1 stock cube/sachet to 750ml water)
250ml (1 cup) cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Shiitake Mushroom Soup 1 2Cut the shiitake mushrooms into quarters and chop the white button mushrooms. Slice the leeks. On medium-low heat in a large pot, fry the leeks and shiitake mushrooms for five minutes. (You may remove half of the shiitakes at this point for garnishing if so desired.) Add the white button mushrooms and garlic and fry for another 10 minutes on medium-low. Pour in the stock and add the thyme, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

Shiitake Mushroom Soup 8 2Pour the contents into a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the cream and simmer for five minutes. Splash in the lemon juice and flavour with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining shiitake mushrooms.

 

 

 

 

Shiitake Mushroom Soup 7 2 3

Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pies

It’s cold and wet in Cape Town so pies. Is there really any better meal than fresh and crispy just-out-of-the-oven homemade pies on a chilly winter’s day? I’ve been making this recipe for about five years and it’s a keeper. I use individual pie dishes as opposed to one large dish and I get four individual pies with a little bit left over, which I stuff into the remaining pastry and bake for The Husband’s lunch.

The aromatic flavour of thyme coupled with the buttery chicken is a win-win. When you add these ingredients together, the creamy aroma will not go unnoticed and the bacon and mushrooms finish the dish off perfectly. It’s a filling dish that will leave you satisfied and warm!

Servings: 4     Prep time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

Chicken bacon mushroom pies ingredients200g streaky bacon, sliced
500g chicken, cut into inch-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
400g chopped white mushrooms
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
400g ready rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs for painting the pastry

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2 (2)In a large pan on medium heat, fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2.5In a bowl, sprinkle the paprika and thyme into the flour and coat the cut chicken thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 3 (2)Melt the butter in a large pot and add the contents of the bowl. Fry on medium heat until the chicken changes colour, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 5 (2)Add the bacon and mushrooms to the chicken, pour in the stock and extra water and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 4While the food is simmering, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll the puff pastry out on the counter, sprinkling some flour underneath to prevent it from sticking. Measure your pie dishes by placing them on the pastry and outlining them. Cut out the four pieces and stretch them, if necessary, covering the sides.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 6 (2)Fill the pie dishes ⅔ full and cover the top with pastry, extending it over the sides. You may need to use a little bit of water to stick the sides down onto the dish.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 7 (3)Beat 2 egg yolks and paint over the pastry. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the pies are golden brown on top. Let them stand for about 5 to 10 minutes as they will be very hot inside.

I was not trying to be romantic with the candles – we had a power failure just as the pies came out of the oven!

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 8 (2)

 

Oxtail Stew

The Husband and I were cruising the butchery section at our local supermarket when his eyes lit up and he made a run for the section behind me. “Pleeeeease may we have oxtail?”. Let me be honest – I don’t cook a lot of oxtail, and The Husband recently bought a box of gazillion marshmallow and chocolate-covered Easter eggs which he hid away from me (for obvious reasons) No seriously, I jest not. A happy compromise – oxtail for Easter eggs. The thing is, I absolutely love this stew! It’s packed with flavour, fresh herbs, a delicious variety of veggies and it has wine. This is a wonderful excuse to open a bottle of red, just remember to keep some for the stew. A rich stew popular in South Africa, this is the perfect meal to serve on a chilly day. It’s packed with flavour, does not disappoint and will you leave you with a wonderfully satisfied tummy!

Oxtail used to only come from the tail of an ox, but it now comes from the tail of a cow of either gender (uh… gender equality?). It is a bony, fatty piece of meat with marrow in the centre. This makes it ideal for slow-cooked stews so here it is! Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Let’s dig in!

Oxtail ingredients

1kg (2.2lbs) oxtail
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
50g tomato paste
250ml red wine
250ml beef stock
500g baby tomatoes
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
1kg (2.2lbs) baby potatoes
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fresh thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
Salt

Oxtail 1 2

Sprinkle flour over the oxtails and coat fully. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium and add the meat when the oil is hot. Fry for about 10 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Oxtail 5 2Pour the hot oil and pan drippings into a large pot, heat on medium and add the leeks and garlic. Fry for about 3 – 5 minutes. Return the oxtails into the pot with tomato paste and fry, turning the meat, for another 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and beef stock, add the fresh and tinned tomatoes and start bringing the stew to a slow boil.

 

 

 

Oxtail 6 2Add the carrots and potatoes. Wash your fresh thyme and rosemary and sprinkle a few sprigs into the pot. Splash in Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and crack some black pepper. (I don’t add salt at this point – let it stew for an hour, taste it and add salt. The Worcestershire sauce is already salty so try to avoid adding too much salt.) Stir everything, cover, bring to a boil, uncover and simmer for 2 hours. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

 

 

Oxtail 8 2