Crispy pork belly with apple sauce: A worthy mission

I learned something very interesting about the Dutch this weekend: that they don’t tend to appreciate roast pork with a good piece of crackling like many other countries of the world do. You’re probably asking who on earth wouldn’t love a piece of crackling other than vegetarian?

Well according to the butcher at the Noordermarkt, the Dutch prefer their pork belly with the skin off, meaning that you could never accomplish the crisp crackling you see above. “Sorry…” he said, “we haven’t got any and you probably won’t ever find a butcher in Holland that hasn’t already cut the skin off the pig.” Pretty demoralising considering I was at one of the best food markets in the city…

“This is preposterous!” I thought. What about all the English? And the Chinese? How would they get their crackling fixes? Surely there’s been some demand and therefore some supply of it?!

I wasn’t going to give up that easily. I dragged poor Mikee all around Amsterdam in search of a butcher that would perhaps have a pig out the back waiting to be skinned. Logic led us to Chinatown and found us the lovely piece of crispy pork belly we ate tonight 🙂

For all you Amsterdammers with a hankering for crispy pork belly, head to the Slagerij Vet at Zeedijk 99 and enjoy!

Crisp pork belly with apple sauce and squashed potatoes

Ingredients pork belly:

900g pork belly (with skin on)

Sea salt

4 garlic cloves squashed with the back of a knife

3 strips of orange peel

Ingredients apple sauce:

4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters

60ml water

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 knob of butter

1 tbsp lemon juice

2-3 pinches of ground cinnamon

Ingredients squashed potatoes:

500g potatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

A few sprigs of fresh rosemary or tbsp of dried rosemary

2 bay leaves

6 cloves of garlic

To serve:

Bitter salad leaves (like rocket, chicory or radicchio) tossed with a mustard dressing or olive oil and balsamic.

Method pork belly:

1)   Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius

2)   Score the pork belly lengthways with a very sharp knife (we used a craft knife)

3)   Rub the pork belly with lots of sea salt focusing on the skin and ensuring you get between the score marks

4)   Put in the fridge of 30 mins uncovered to dry out

5)   Line a roasting tin with baking paper

6)   Put the bay leaves, garlic and orange peels in the tin

7)   Place the pork belly on top

8)   Pour 1cm of cold water in the tin

9)   Roast uncovered for 3 hours

10)   Increase heat to 200 degrees Celsius

11)   Roast pork for another 20-30 mins or until skin crackles

12)   If the skin won’t crackle, put under hot grill and keep an eye on it until it does

13)   Remove from oven, cover with foil and rest for 15 mins

14)   Serve with potatoes, apple sauce and salad leaves

Method apple sauce:

1)   Place apples and water in a saucepan on medium heat

2)   Cover and simmer for 10 mins or until apple is soft

3)   Add sugar, butter, lemon juice and cinnamon

4)   Stir until sugar dissolves and butter melts

5)   Remove from heat and cool a little before serving

Method squashed potatoes:

1)   Wash potatoes and halve lengthways (keep the skin on)

2)   Add to a saucepan with a pinch of salt

3)   Cover with boiled water, put the lid on and boil until cooked

4)   Strain the potatoes and leave to drain for about 2 mins

5)   Add olive oil, rosemary and bay leaves to pan on medium-high heat

6)   Put the potatoes over it and drizzle with more olive oil and salt

7)   Crush the garlic cloves over the potatoes and turn heat to high

8)   Get a flat lid from a smaller pan and press down so you squash and burst some potatoes

9)   Leave to colour and then toss after 3 mins and squash down again until golden all over

Serves 4-6


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6 Responses to “Crispy pork belly with apple sauce: A worthy mission”
  1. Oh, those silly Dutch! Pork belly is meant to be a delivery mechanism for delicious crispy pork cracklings… I though everyone knew that. 🙂
    This recipe sounds just perfect for a chilly fall weekend. Apples and pork always go so well together!

  2. I cannot believe the Dutch don’t like the skin?!? I agree with you, that is the best part. I’ve never tackled pork belly before (just devoured in restaurants), but your pictures are convincing me otherwise. I will be giving this a try!

  3. bananamondaes says:

    This looks great. I also love the crackling the best. I haven’t been able to eat it for the last two years due to braces – but as soon as they came off I headed to ‘Oink’ a great diner in Edinburgh where you can get pork rolls with haggis and topped with a slice of crackling. Your recipe is great inspiration to try my own.

  4. Caryn says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m trying to make some Vietnamese sandwiches with char siu but needed to find a place with pork belly in A’dam. You’ve made my belly so much happier.

    • jennynoowyn says:

      I’m so pleased you found this post and that I could help you! 🙂 hope your vietnamese sandwiches were delicious! Quick tip, Albert Heijn has shredded carrot that’s pickled in a jar which is quite nice for viet sandwiches (and easier than shredding and pickling yourself!;)

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