Belly Pork occasion
I am a Pork lover, it smells great as it cooks, tastes great, so enticing.
Sunday morning at the country estate (all 15 acres) are laid back, stay in bed sort of occasion. So I did. Then I began thinking about the chunk of Belly Pork I had bought, I also love(d) as a kid, roast seasoned ‘pocket of steak, (topside) it was always my go to birthday request meal. Why didn’t I try and stuff the belly Pork and slow roast it in the Falcon. My modern AGA stove and one of the passions of my life.
There is no reason why it should not work I reasoned. Belly Pork is fatty, or it is when I buy it. Seasoning if made properly can cut the fat… a scrape of lemon rind, the sharpness of sage, finely chopped uncooked onion, of course with some bread soaked in milk and a small slab of butter, after all, don’t want to take the chance that the meat will dry out. I have Dad’s boning knife, its good and sharp, narrow blade.
Mum’s go to all purpose stuffing is simple, sage, onion, breadcrumbs, butter, salt and pepper. Used two slices of day old white bread, broke it up in the basin a splash of milk, half a brown onion chopped finely and six sage leaves shredded, a pat of butter, salt and pepper, ended up with about 1 1⁄2 cups.
My belly Pork was on the larger side, I cut the pocket on the side of the roughly square piece of meat, you can see the bottom and top by the way the ribs run. I made the pocket as large and as spacious as I could without piercing the skin or the meat. I did make a small hole in the pocket, but it caused little issue. I stuffed the pocket with all of the stuffing mix, stitched the opening and congratulated myself.
Belly pork often has a sort of valley in the centre of cut, I used the stuffing to give me a flat surface or in fact slightly domed. I had cut the rind into 1 cm strips before stuffing. Heated the Falcon to 150° c and placed the meat on two slabs of sweet potato, this was I reckoned a way of keeping the pork from the bottom of the pan and adding moisture. I also added 1⁄2 a cup of water. No salt and no oil. Into the oven for a three hour cook.
We had a cauliflower, three tomatoes and plenty of onion. Two of my favourite things are cauliflower cheese and what Mum called tomato and onion ‘savoury’. I was a bit puffed up with success on the stuffed belly Pork, so thought I could keep the thing going. I used half the large caulie, sort of sliced it into 1 cm wedges, Cut up the tomatoes and one red onion into slices, combined all put some salt and pepper over and the made 750 ml of cheese sauce (I like a fair wedge of parmesan in the sauce), poured it over and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs along with a few bits of bacon. Baked for about 75 minutes at 160° c fan forced.
By way of comment, this could also make a great baked dish, the large very full cauliflowers, heavy and densely packed are great sliced in 1.5 cm wedges, laid on an oiled tray, drizzled with good olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven until browned, the same can be done with tomato and onion, so to with fennel, then all can be layered in a casserole dish, in dispersed with fresh herbs, dressed with some olive oil and a scattering of breadcrumbs, baked in a 180° c oven until cooked, about 20 minutes. You can also do this with canned beans in the layers and top with some tomato passata. Beautiful.
My go to gravy method is always the same, the pan drippings (gorgeous) with a tablespoon of plain flour and a good teaspoon of vegemite, use a flat whisk and make this into a paste, then add a cup and a half of cold water and begin blending the paste over heat, more water may be necessary as the gravy may be too thick. But it will be delicious.
It’s true that I prepped the food, but it is time to again praise and eulogise and carry on a treat about how great the Falcon is. You pay a fare bit for a good cooking appliance, in the main it seems that the European models all come with many bells and whistles, the Falcon does not have lots to twiddle with. It could not be called basic, five top burners, one top hot plate, one fan forced oven, one standard oven with top and bottom heat sources, one grill and one plate warmer. What is so great about the Falcon is that it is reliable, it works and better yet, does exactly what it is called on to do. My one groan is that the country requires us to have bottled gas and that is not as effective. Other than that, love the Falcon.
Suffice to say, it was delicious, slabs of butter tender meat, crispy crackle and moist seasoning, all crowned with a rich brown gravy and a serve of cheesy cauliflower tomato and onion.
We usually get back from the country late Sunday, if I can, I will con Jen into a batch of scones, the last lot because I ate them too fast, gave me a little indigestion. In order to not have to make scones, Jennifer reminds me of that moment and at the same time, appeals to my inner healthy person and elevates her own status in my health’s regard. It sometimes works!
We had returned home with half the Belly Pork, half the cheesy cauliflower and a slug of gravy. I am not averse to a meat and salad moment and that was my plan to tonight (Monday). That left Sunday nights meal unattended and Jen was not happy about scones. I thought I would channel my inner American mid west housewife and make soup from the left over vegetable dish.
I took one decent sized saucepan, put in the remaining cheesy cauliflower etc, rinse out the cooking dish with about 750 mil of chicken stock, added 1 can of crushed tomato and heated. My idea was to blend it, I didn’t do it in the end, I just used the potato masher and crushed it a little. Hot patooti, it was delicious. One crusty breadstick, a large bowl of soup and yum.