Pork Belly with Lentils, Fennel and Potato Crisp
For the pork belly
1kg pork belly on the bone
4T olive oil
2 large onions, cut into pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2T tomato paste
150ml white wine
50ml soy sauce
15g ginger, peeled
1 bay leaf
2T Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
2 sprigs thyme
For the lentils
200g lentils du Puy (or other green lentils)
½ an onion
1 carrot, peeled and diced
¼ celeriac, peeled and diced
For the potato crisp
2 large potatoes, peeled
1½ inch ginger
200ml sunflower oil
6 sprigs fennel flowers
To make the pork belly, preheat oven to 160˚C. Season pork belly with salt and pepper, then, using a big cocotte, sear in oil until golden brown.
Remove pork belly from cocotte and add onion, carrot and garlic. Fry for about three minutes, then add tomato paste. Cook for another minute, then deglaze with white wine and soy sauce.
Add pork, ginger, bay leaf, tea leaves and thyme, then cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook in oven for about two and a half hours. Belly is cooked when a small knife penetrates it easily. Allow to cool completely in its stock.
Soak lentils for four hours in cold water. Strain and cover with water in a casserole. Add onion (pricked with clove) and bring to a boil. Cook slowly until lentils are tender, then remove onion and strain. Blanch diced carrot and celeriac for two minutes in salted water. Strain and refresh in cold water.
To make the potato crisp, cut potatoes and ginger into 2mm strips and combine. Heat oil in a 28cm pan and spread a quarter of the potatoes in it like a flat nest. Cook over medium heat for about three minutes, then flip and cook until crispy. Place on a paper towel and season with salt. Repeat to produce four galettes. Keep warm.
Remove pork belly from the stock, cut off the bone and portion into four. Strain stock and reduce by half to taste. Season with salt and pepper and add 20g cold butter. Simmer for five minutes and set aside.
Preheat oven grill. Sear meat in a pan on all sides, then glaze with sauce using a brush. Place in oven and, when glaze starts to dry out, brush on more until meat has a thick, shiny coating. Melt remaining butter and reheat lentils with diced vegetables and four tablespoons of sauce. Add two sprigs fennel flowers.
Place lentils in the centre of a plate, lay pork belly over lentils and decorate with potato crisp and remaining fennel flowers.
Originally published in HL April 2016