Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with Creamy Mushroom Risotto

The aromatic headiness of Chinese 5 Spice lifts succulent pork belly into another stratosphere, whilst teaming perfectly with the earthiness of mushrooms.

This is a meeting of cultures not to be missed!

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Let’s start with that oh so drool-able ingredient of pork belly! You want about a 1kg piece with no bone in there. Take it out of it’s packaging & ever so gently give it a pat down with paper towel to dry the skin.

Next, ensure that the skin has already been scored, if not, then just run a sharp knife across the skin to cut deep into the fat but not all the way through to the meat.

Slather your pork with an ever so generous amount of salt & then sprinkle over a teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice. Give that lot a jolly good rub into that luscious piece of meat. Drizzle over some oil & bung it in a roasting dish.

Whack the pork into a 250c oven for 20 minutes before turning the heat down to 150c for another 10 minutes, then simply drizzle another wee bit of oil over it & roast for another 30 minutes or until it’s cooked through.

Meanwhile, get cracking with that fabuliciouzly creamy mushroom risotto to serve alongside.

Now, the biggest trick to making a great risotto is all about what pan you use! Forget a deep saucepan, what you need is a large flat deep sided frypan! This ensures that all the rice cooks evenly which is the secret to getting that creamy texture.

The first thing to do is to stick 1 litre of chicken stock in a pot on the back burner to gently heat through.

Then you’ll need to heat a blob of butter in your flat frypan to sauté off 250g worth of sliced mushrooms (my fam-bam prefer Swiss Brown) before setting those aside in a bowl.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of butter in the same flat frypan & this time sauté 1 finely diced onion along with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic until they’re nice & soft. Bung in 2 cups of rice (traditionally you’d use Arborio but I use Jasmine) then toss through the butter mix until it’s lovely & translucent.

Next, ever so slowly start adding the warmed chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Just make sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding in the next lot. This takes time so make sure you have a drink handy. Once all the stock is incorporated (takes about 30-40 minutes) throw through 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, stir well & pop those mushrooms back in. Mix it all thoroughly & serve immediately  with the sliced up pork belly.

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