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Slow cooked pork belly with fennel puree, salsa verde and fennel crisp

By Jaryd Sparg, head chef, 95 At Morgenster.

300 g piece of pork belly, skin on and bones removed.

• 2 star anise
• 1 tblsp coriander seeds
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 tsp grated ginger
• Zest of 1 orange
• 125 g brown sugar
• 250 g Kosher salt
• 1 tblsp pink curing salt

In a mortar and pestle place star anise, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, ginger and orange zest. Grind until coarse, mix the spice with sugar, kosher salt and curing salt. Rub the spice and salt mixture all over the piece of pork belly and let it marinate in the fridge for 10 hours.
Wipe the curing mixture from the pork and place the pork into a vac-pack bag. Sous-vide (cook in a water bath) at 85°C for 10 hours.
Place the pork on a tray and place another tray on top of the pork belly. Press down on the top tray and place some weights on top of the tray to hold it down. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
When the pork belly is ready, remove it from the vac-pack bag and wipe off the juice and fat.

Fennel puree cooked in a bag (papillote)
• 2 tblsp Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 medium sized fennel bulb (stems removed, fronds kept for garnish)
• pinch of Maldon salt
• 1 tblsp butter

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lay a sheet of tin foil on a clean work surface. It should be twice as long as it is wide. Fold it in half and open it up again. Drizzle 1 table spoon of Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil over one half.
Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Thinly slice the fennel and mix in a bowl with salt, butter and the remaining oil. Place this on one half of the tin foil in a small pile. Bring the rest of the tin foil over the fennel and roll up the unsealed edges to form a bag. Place the bag on a baking tray and put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the fennel is tender. (Be careful not to overcook and lose all the juices). Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Once cooled, place in a food processor with all its juices. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Check the seasoning, it may need some more olive oil and salt.

Fennel crisp
• 100 g sugar water (equal parts sugar to water)
• 1 fennel bulb

Preheat the oven to 85°C, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat and gently dissolve the sugar. Cut the fennel bulb into wafer-thin slices (1 mm thick), dip the slices into the sugar water and then run your fingers across them to remove excess liquid. Spread out the fennel slices on a baking sheet covered with silicone paper. Place in the preheated oven and dry them for approximately 3 hours. Turn all the fennel slices once, after an hour.

Salsa verde 
• 1 cup picked parsley, packed
• 2 tblsp picked mint
• 2 tblsp picked oregano
• 1 small garlic clove
• 1 small shallot
• 2 tblsp capers (rinsed)
• 4 anchovy fillets (drained and wiped)
• 4 tblsp white wine vinegar
• Maldon salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste.
• ½ cup Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Finely chop all ingredients separately and mix together with Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Pre-heat the oven to 240°C and cook the pork for around 15 minutes until the skin crisps.
While the pork is cooking, heat the fennel puree. To serve, slice the crispy pork belly skin side down (as it’s easier to cut through the skin) into four pieces. Place pork onto a bed of fennel puree and spoon over the salsa verde. Garnish with fennel crisp and fronds.

Tel: +27.218521738   Fax: +27.218520835   Email:  
P.O. Box 1616, Somerset West, 7129, South Africa
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