For August’s Random Recipe Challenge, Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has taken us waaaay back to the very beginning. This month’s instructions echo those of the first ever Random Recipes Challenge, the rules being:
- number your books/place them in a pile/throw them in the air
- randomly select a cook book
- open the cook book to a random page
- cook the exact recipe on that page
I used an online random number generator to help me pick my book and, whaddya know? It only went and picked number 47. This proved to be the very last book on my bookshelf and my newest acquisition.(Before my recent trip to London and the decimation of Waterstone’s cookbook department, that is.) The book in question was Evan Faull’s “Café Food at Home.”
Unfortunately, I can’t provide the usual Amazon link so you good people can rush off and buy a copy as the book is only available in South Africa. For my fellow Safas, I picked a copy up from Woolworths where they have been selling them at a discounted rate. If you hurry, they might still have some.
Evan Faull is the man behind Cape Town’s famous Knead Bakery and his beautifully fashioned book contains, as the name suggests, plenty of café style recipes to make at home. I was rather pleased to find that when I opened the book at a random page, I had inadvertently chosen to make a roast pork belly sandwich with tomato and apple chutney. Anyone who knows me will confirm that I have a major weakness for pork belly (the evidence being my own porky belly) so I was mighty chuffed with my selection.
The recipe calls for the pork belly to be braised long and slow in a good artisan beer. Unfortunately the OH wouldn’t let me near the good stuff for cooking so I ended up braising the pork in a bottle of Windhoek Lite. Probably not what Evan had in mind but it did make for a might tender piece of pork all the same. I couldn’t resist meddling with the recipe a little. (At this stage I didn’t realise Dom’s rule number 5 was “you may adapt the recipe for health/dietary/product availability purposes ONLY.” Oops!) I decided to leave out the Parma ham (which seemed like porcine overload), I toasted the bread and I tinkered with the chutney to make it more to my taste. I also left out the mysterious 10g of salt that featured in the ingredients list but was nowhere to be found in the recipe. Grr, poor editing – a pet peeve. That small blip aside, it was a mighty good sandwich. Here’s how I made it:
Roast Pork Belly Sandwich with Tomato and Apple Chutney (adapted from “Café Food at Home” by Evan Faull)
Makes 4 chunky sandwiches with leftovers
For the braised pork belly:
- 1 onion, sliced
- 600g pork belly, fat scored
- zest of ½ lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bottle beer
- small handful of fresh thyme, chopped
- small handful of fresh sage, chopped
- salt and pepper
For the chutney:
- 2 red onions, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 red apples, cored and cubed
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 75g demerara sugar
- 100ml cider vinegar
For the sandwich:
- 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced
- large handful of rocket
For the pork, put the sliced onion in the bottom of an oven proof dish and place the piece of pork belly on top, fat side up. Massage the lemon zest and garlic into the fat and season with salt and pepper. Pour the beer around the pork belly (leaving the layer of fat poking out). Cover and leave at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Preheat the grill to high and brown the top of the pork. Turn off the grill and set the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Sprinkle the pork with the herbs and top up the beer if some has evaporated whilst grilling. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 hours.
Meanwhile, make the chutney. Soften the onions in the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the apples and spices and cook for a few minutes until the apple starts to soften. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook until the liquid evaporates and the apples have turned soft and mushy. You may need to add a little water if the mixture gets too dry and depending on your apple variety, you might need to give them a quick mash to help things along. Remove from the heat and refrigerate.
To assemble your sandwich, grill the ciabatta slices lightly on both sides. Spread a generous dollop of chutney on a piece of ciabatta, top with the sliced pork belly and some rocket leaves and finish with another slice of ciabatta. Eat and enjoy.