Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tocino al horno (Roast Pork Belly)

As you may have noticed by now, pork is one of my favorite ingredients. In most of  the Colombian territory the main dishes are made with pork: chicharrones, fried ribs, morcillas (blood sausages), Beans with pig hooves, marranitas, even the famous "lechona" from the Tolima region, which is a whole roasted pig stuffed with rice and peas. We love pork and we always find different ways to cook it.

Ingredients for 4 servings

1 1/2 Kg pork belly (meaty)
3 garlic cloves, mashed
sea salt

Wash over running water the pork belly. Clean carefully making sure to remove any hair left. Using a sharp knife make scores about a centimeter apart through the skin into the fat but not too deep to cut the meat completely.

Rub the sea salt and the mashed garlic generously, making sure it goes into the scores previously made. Let set for 30 minutes.

Preheat  the oven to 425 F. Place the pork skin side-up on a baking rack with a tray under to collect the fat and juices. Bake for 30 minutes, the skin should have started to puff up.

Lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for another one hour. The meat must be soft and tender and the skin crispy and brown.

Remove the pork from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Let set for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with rice and vegetables.