Celebrate St Patricks Day with some succulent, tasty, and very Irish Guinness Lacquered Pork Belly. Grab your harp, shillelagh, shamrock, something green and your appetite!
Lets face it, you don’t have to be Irish to celebrate the occasion. Nobody turns down a chance to have a party. It’s been a major date in the calendar going all the way back to the early 17th century, and is officially celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.
More than 13m glasses of Guinness are drunk around the world on March 17, according to the drinks company, which, as one glass contains 330ml, adds up to 4.29m litres or 7.5m pints consumed in one day.
Interestingly Ireland only lies fourth on the table of how much Guinness countries will consume on Thursday. The UK is in first place, and the USA is in third, but second could well be a quiz question for your friends down the pub. Strangely with a fifth of all Guinness sold step forward Nigeria ……although this can probably be credited fact that St Patrick is also the patron saint of the African country.
Anyway, back to the pork belly. It can be used as an appetiser in smaller pieces, or part of a main meal with larger sizes and more accompaniments. The choice is yours.
Guinness Lacquered Pork Belly
* 2 lb pork belly, without skin
* 4 cups Guinness or dark stout
* 1 1/2 cups wildflower honey (or full bodied honey)
* 1/2 cup agave syrup
* 2-3 bay leaves
* 1 tbsp orange zest
* 4 tbsp sunflower oil
* salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 orange (for serving)
1 - Score the fatty side of the pork belly in a crisscross pattern, without cutting into the meat. Rub the meat generously with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
2 - Preheat the oven to 200F. In a bowl mix the Guinness, honey, agave syrup, bay leaves and orange zest.
3 - In a large Dutch oven or casserole heat the oil until sizzling. Add the pork belly and cook over moderate heat until it is nicely browned on both sides. Remove the casserole from the heat and discard the fat. Poor in the Guinness mixture around the meat. Make sure that the fatty side of the meat is facing up. Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid, transfer to the oven and roast for about 7-8 hours, until meat is very tender, but not falling apart. Remove the casserole from the oven. Gently lift the pork belly, transfer to a platter and let it cool completely, at least 2 hours.
4 - Skim all the fat from the roasting liquid. (I do it by pouring the liquid into a bowl and putting it in the freezer for about two hours). Pour the liquid back into the casserole and bring to boil over high heat. Simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until it is reduced to thick syrup. (The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools, if it becomes too thick, you can always add a little bit of water.)
5 - Preheat the broiler. Cut the cold pork belly into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Glaze the cubes with the Guinness syrup on all sides (you may have some syrup left). Arrange on a baking sheet and place under the broiler (but not too close, about 6 inches from the broiler). Broil for about 5 or so minutes to crisp.
6 - Using slotted spoon, transfer the pork belly to plates. Squeeze a couple of drops of orange juice on top (and if you like some more of the Guinness syrup) and give it a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Serve with a slice of orange on the side.
Note: This dish can easily be made a day ahead up to the last step. Roast the belly on Day 1 and store it in the fridge. Store the liquid separately. On Day 2 skim the fat from the liquid, make the syrup and then finish the pork belly under the broiler.
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