In cases you missed it, last month I was in London and ate at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, Petrus. During that meal I had his famous pressed pork belly, which is served like a cube with a beautiful crispy skin. I’ve made pork belly a few times, and while I’ve been trying to eat more healthy recently, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try making this dish. I actually prepared the meal on my birthday and ate it the following day. Happy birthday to me?
Anyway, the way this dish is prepared is by roasting the pork belly on a bed of sliced open garlic bulbs and then placing it in the fridge between two dishes (and weight on top) to press the pork belly into a thinner piece. It seemed intimidating, but its a nice dish to impress your friends, or shamelessly devour alone in your apartment with candles lit around you (I did the latter, minus the candles).
I didn’t really alter the recipe at all, except the amount of pork belly I used. I will post the recipe as is, and you can feel free to use less pork. I used about a pound and a quarter, while the recipe calls for 2.5 pounds. The pork shrinks a lot, so keep that in mind.
I’ve looked for this recipe in Gordon Ramsay’s cookbooks and have been unsuccessful. However, I did pick up Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy, which has lots of stellar recipes. I’d highly recommend it!
Recipe courtesy of Pork Belly Recipes
Yield: 6-8 servings
about 2.5 pounds belly of pork, the leaner, the better
2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of thyme sprigs
olive oil, to drizzle
generous splash of white wine
2 cups chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 325.
Untie the belly of pork if it is rolled and lay it flat on a chopping board. Score the skin evenly in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife. Turn the belly skin side down and cut a slit through the thick end of the pork to open it out like a butterfly so that the meat is evenly thick throughout.* Rub all over with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
* I didn’t do this because my pork was even, so this is optional.
Place the garlic, halved side up, on a lightly oiled roasting tray** and scatter over the thyme sprigs. Lay the pork belly on top, fat side up. Trickle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with a little more sea salt. Add a splash of white wine around the pork, cover the meat with a piece of foil and bake for 1½ hours. Remove the foil, baste the pork with the juices and return to the oven, uncovered, for another ½-1 hour until the meat is tender. Continue to baste the pork occasionally with the pan juices.
**ideally you want something that you could put on your stove top afterward. I used a small roasting tray with a large rim. After, I deglazed on the stove top which is gas heated.
Transfer the pork to a clean chopping board and leave to cool slightly. While still warm, place another tray on top of the pork and weigh down with a few heavy tins to flatten it. Cool completely, then chill for four hours or overnight in the refrigerator to set its shape.
Pour off any excess oil from the roasting tray and place over high heat. If you used something that can’t go on the stove top, pour into a sauce pan. Deglaze the tray with a generous splash of white wine, scraping the bottom and crushing the heads of garlic with a wooden spoon to release the sediment. Boil the liquid until reduced by half, then add the chicken stock and bring back to the boil until reduced and thickened. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, pressing down on the garlic pulp with the back of a ladle. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Day 2, or 4-6 hours later
Heat the oven to 500.
Cut the pressed pork into individual portions or squares and pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Place the pork squares, fat side up, in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Rest the pork for 5 minutes, then serve with the light gravy and accompaniments.