Food & Drink
by Aspect County

Jack Monroe’s Del Monte spicy pork belly with prune chutney


Prep time:
6 – 24 hours,

Cooking time:
12 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling time

1 (425g) can of Del Monte Prunes in Juice
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 tbsp light coloured vinegar – cider, red, white or rice are all fine
1 tbsp light cooking oil
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coarse salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
Plenty of black pepper
800g pork belly, sliced
1 large onion
2 large stalks of celery

Strain the prunes, keep the juice for the marinade. Peel and crush garlic and add to the juice, the vinegar and a little oil. Mix with Chinese five spice, fennel, and salt and pepper. Add this seasoning to the marinade jar, keeping a little to one side. Screw the lid on tightly and shake well. Pop the pork into sealable bag that will hold it and pour in three quarters of the marinade. Refrigerate for 6 – 24 hours, but no longer.

When it’s time to cook the pork, remove it from the fridge and leave for 20 minutes to reach room temperature. Preheat your oven to 210 C, gas mark 6, with the shelf in the middle. Transfer the pork to the small roasting dish and pour over the marinade to just below where the top fat layer starts. Rub the remaining salt-and-spice marinade onto the exposed fat. Put the pork belly into the oven for 10 – 12 minutes to crisp up the fat and produce crackling. Turn the heat down to 140 C, gas mark 1 and cook for a further 90 minutes.

Place a wire cooling rack on top of a roasting or baking tray (with sides). Remove pork from the oven and place each piece on the wire rack to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

For the gravy:
Combine one tbsp each of oil and flour in a small saucepan over a low heat. Gradually add the juices, stirring the whole time, and thin with a little stock or water as desired. Taste and season. It’ll thicken as it cools. Serve hot.

For the chutney:
While the pork is marinading, make the accompanying chutney.

De-stone the prunes by gently squeezing them – the stones should pop right out. Discard the stones and pop the prunes into a medium saucepan.

Peel and halve, then very finely slice your onion and celery. Add to the pan along with the remaining marinade and an extra tablespoon of vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the veg is soft. You may need to add a splash of water here, so be certain it doesn’t dry out.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a clean, heat proof jar, screw the lid on while it’s hot and leave to cool completely before putting in the fridge.