This is so bloomin' scrumptious it doesn't even need a write-up. Apart from to say that, though the pork weeps with fatty joy and the skin is crisper than a morning in March, it's the rhubarb that really makes it.
PORK BELLY WITH RHUBARB
NOTE: You need 5 minutes the night before to prepare this.
500g pork belly, boned, scored (you can ask your butcher to do this)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 leaves sage
1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 glass cider
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
2 sticks rhubarb, chopped into 1inch batons
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
Overnight or at least 8 hours before:
Rub the sides and bottom of the belly with the crushed garlic, chopped sage, oil, salt and pepper, avoiding the skin completely.
Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge.
4 and a bit hours before serving:
Preheat the oven to the highest it can go or to about 230C.
Rub the pork skin with a little olive oil and the sea salt flakes. Place skin side up on a grate over a roasting tray and place in the oven for 45 minutes until the skin is crisp and brown and starting to bubble and burst.
Meanwhile, pour the cider, veg and bay into another roasting tray.
When it's time to remove the pork, turn the oven down to 180C. Place the meat on top of the veg and cider. Cover the edges of the baking tray with foil, leaving the skin exposed, so that the cider can steam up through the bottom to make the juiciest of meat. The skin will continue to crisp and be pretty solid when you serve it. Cook for a further 3 hours until, when poked with a skewer, there is no resistance from the pork.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest, loosely covered with tin foil.
Throw the rhubarb, sugar and water into a saucepan and place over a medium heat until soft and stringy. You want it still to be sharp so it cuts through the salty pork.
Slice the pork into large squares and serve alongside the lovely, rosey rhubarb.