Passing through the Farmers market the other day, wrapped up against the cold, it dawned on me that I haven’t covered pork yet and since its getting colder now is the time to have a look at pork belly. Animal fat is so often the enemy of the good diet and yet it transfers to body warmth better than any other fat so this time of year is the perfect time to bring out the belly!

Through out history pork was one of the few types of meat that was widely available and affordable. Indeed for many it was the only meat they ever had to eat. What’s better is that pork lends itself to many wonderful ways of preservation, just look at the array of cured and dried bits of pork that are now available to us from all over the world.

That said pork is getting a pretty poor reputation these days and frankly it shouldn’t. It is after all people who choose to treat pigs in the most appalling ways; sadly it’s also us that want cheap meat and can get blinded to the fact that cheap meat comes from cheap production.

Thankfully it doesn’t have to be this way, we are so lucky in the Bay of Plenty to have some fantastic piggeries that are organic and free range and we must really support them whenever we can. To put it simply it is so much better to use the cheap cut of an expensive animal than the expensive cut of a cheap one. By showing our support of good farming practices we encourage more farmers to do what they wish they could do, that being produce top quality product and get paid for their skills. For those that are interested I bought my piece of belly pork from Free Range Farms in Katikati.

So all that waffle brings me to the belly pork, in this case a wonderfully crispy and fragrant piece of perfection, which I hope you’ll try and enjoy as much as we do?

Chinese Crisp Roasted Pork

1 x 1kg piece fresh belly pork, boned but not skinned

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

3 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon five-spice powder


Score pork skin at 1cm intervals, using a very sharp knife and cutting right through the skin. Blanch meat in a large sauce pan of boiling water for 2 minutes, then lift out, rinse under cold water and dry well with kitchen paper. Combine garlic and soy sauce and rub all over meat side of pork. Combine salt and five-spice powder and rub all over skin. Refrigerate uncovered, skin-side up, for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 230°C and line a baking dish with foil. Position a rack in baking dish and settle pork on rack, skin-side up. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200°C and bake for 40 minutes or until skin crackles and crisps.

Cool a little before cutting into slices and then into thick fingers. Serve hot with steamed rice and Asian greens or at room temperature as an entrée with a dish of hoi sin sauce for dipping, or use in a stir-fry.

I love the flavour of a good Gewürztraminer with pork and in this case the Chinese aromatics really work, try the Nelson vineyard

KAIMIRA ESTATE WINES and their Brightwater Gewürztraminer

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