Chef Chris Tustian has blown in to the Cradle of Humankind, and Roots restaurant is in for quite a ride. Try his Slow-braised Pork Belly with Potato Tarte Tatin and Bitter Onion Purée, Asparagus, Spinach and Apple Purée…
- 1.5kg (deboned) pork belly
- 5 large onions
- 2 large carrots
- 50g of thyme
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 or 2 chicken stock cubes
- 6 medium potatoes
- pinch of pepper
- pinch of salt
- 250g sugar
- 200g butter
- 100ml balsamic vinegar
- 1kg roll puff pastry
- vegetable oil
- 4 green Granny Smith apples
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 250 g pack of baby spinach
- To cook the pork belly, peel carrots and one onion and chop roughly and place into a deep cooking tray. Add whole thyme and crushed garlic seasoning. Place pork belly on vegetables. Mix stock cubes with water and add just enough to to cover the pork belly. Place tin foil over pork belly container and place in preheated oven at 160°C. Cook for 3 hours and then check it with a smooth sharp knife. If you feel no resistance, take the belly out. If there is some resistance to the knife, put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes to 1 hour and test again.
- For the tarte tatin (you can prepare this the night before), take a shallow roasting tray – you can take 6 small trays for presentation or 1 big tray for convenience. Prepare the tray by spraying the tray(s) with Spray 'n Cook. Peel potatoes and thinly slice them into half centimetre slices. Layer the potatoes in tray and season every second layer with salt and pepper.
- Now start working on the caramel for your tarte tatin. Slowly melt your sugar on the stove. Once the sugar has a light-brown colour remove the pot from the stove and add the balsamic vinegar (the vinegar and sugar will set and solidify). Now place pan back on the stove and warm on a medium heat until the contents have turned to liquid again. Take the sugar-balsamic liquid and pour over the potatoes. Set to one side. Take the puff pastry and roll it to fit the top of your container with the potatoes (either the individual containers or large container). Cover containers and place in 170°C oven until the puff pastry is light brown (this should take about 15-20 minutes).
- To create onion and apple purées, peel and thinly slice 4 remaining onions and place in pan with vegetable oil. Place onto the stove with a lid. Cook slowly until onions are transparent. Then turn the onions on high heat and cook to a light golden brown, while stirring continuously. Place into food processor and blend until smooth. Set to one side. Peel, de-core and quarter your apples and place into pan on a low heat. Add 100g of butter and cook until soft. When soft, place into food processor and blend until a smooth purée.
- Cut your asparagus into 6-8cm pieces and place into boiling water and cook until soft, but still crunchy. Take spinach and place into pan with a knob of butter. Cook slowly for 1-2 minutes and remove.
- To serve, portion pork belly into 6 equal pieces and slice each portion into three to four slices. Remove tarte tatin from the oven and turn upside down onto the chopping board. Cut into six equal portion or use the six individual tartes tatin. Place bitter onion purée a plate and add the potatoes. Place the spinach on them.
- Cut your pork portion into slices and place on top of the potatoes and spinach. Add asparagus on top of pork belly. Dot the apple purée around the plate. (If you want to add another level of flavour, you could make a rich sauce from the liquid that is left from the pork belly).
Wine suggestion: Waterkloof Cinsault 2014