Twice cooked crispy Hertfordshire pork belly, quinoa, sumac and kale
Serves 6

All the preparation can be made the day before you serve your lunch which can be great if you have a busy lifestyle. My children always pester us for this on a Sunday, after cooking the whole piece of belly pork its placed on a wooden board and carved atthe table for shared. Its funny how there is silence with two starving kids tucking in. The down side is there is always a wrestle and a squabble for who gets the last cheeky bits of crackling.

This stunning pork belly takes two days, one to cook /rest and another to re-cook the next day after pressing. You’re guaranteed  thin crispy crackling with melt in the mouth succulent meat. Yes you have to wait but the patience pays off.

This time of year summer cabbage, young kale, beets, young carrots are bang in season and screams to join gusty dishes which in turn brings an earthy peppery flavour. In this dish ours accompanying vegetables are simply cooked in salt water and tossed in a  butter, freshly milled black pepper and great salt.this star doesn’t need any additional ingredients.


  • 1 x 1.3kg Middle cut pork belly (get the butcher to score the skin)
  • 6 Medium carrots (peeled and split down the middle)
  • 6 medium shallots (peeled and split in half)
  • ¼ head celeriac (peeled and cut into a 2” dice)
  • ½ head garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 apple (skin on, cored and cut into 6)
  • 2 star anise
  • 6 cardoman seeds
  • 1 lt chicken stock
  • Salt


I use a mix of quinoa (red and white) readily available in all food shops. With its ability to take on flavor it has a nice bite to it. So when the cold weather moves in I add Sumac and smoked paprika for a warm delicate Persian addition. To really push the boat out the addition of Chorizo brings a new level to this dish.



  • 200g mixed quinoa
  • 1 x finely chopped onion
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp Sumac
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 500ml cooking liquor from pork belly
  • 1 table spoon olive oil
  • Seasoning


For the pork, season the meat side with salt and pepper.  Pat the skin dry and rub salt into it (not too much). Place all vegetables/apple and aromates into a roasting tin with steep sides so the meat just fits. Bring the chicken stock to the simmer, and pour on top of the vegetables. Place the pork on top so the meat is half covered.  Place in the oven for 4 hours at 140 °C. Keep topping the cooking stock up with boiling water during this time. This keeps the meat moist.

Once cooked,  remove the belly pork carefully, pat dry and place skin side down on to a large flat plate (place cling film on the plate so its easy to remove). After 20 minutes place a piece of grease proof paper over the pork and place a heavy pan on top or weight then place in the fridge over night to press. Skim the fat off the cooking liquor and reserve for the quinoa.

To serve (next day)

Place the skin side of the pork belly down on a non-stick pan, slowly raising the heat until the skin begins to pop (this is the crackling forming) put a heavy weight on top for 5 minutes then check if all the crackling has formed.  Place in the oven at 160°C or until the centre of the meat is above 75°C on a cooking thermometer. Leave to rest on the side for 8-10 minutes before carving.



Gently heat the olive oil, add the finely chopped onion and crushed garlic. Cook for 2 minutes without colour, then add sumac/smoked paprika. Cook out the spices for 60 seconds then add quinoa followed by cooking liquor from the pork belly. Simmer slowly for approximately 10-12 minutes until its cooked with a slight bite to it. Drain in a sieve and taste for seasoning.

Serve hot or as part of a cold salad if there’s any leftover.


We love Kale, so cook as much as you like. Any left overs make a mean bubble and squeak.



  • Fresh Kale (washed well, trim off stem)
  • Salt
  • Butter



Place in boiling salted water and cook for 4 minutes until cooked then drain in a colander. Quickly toss in a little butter, season to your taste and serve immediately.