Cook it, live it – sour and spicy roast pork belly

Cook sour and spicy wet-roast pork belly with pickled cabbage from Mange Tout by Bruno Loubet, live it with Asian-inspired tableware from Habitat.

Chef Bruno Loubet is known for reinventing French bistro food. After training in Bordeaux, he worked in Belgium then Paris, before moving to London in 1982 and a job at Pierre Koffmann’s La Tante Claire. He was head chef at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, ran his  own restaurants in the UK and Australia, and returned to London in 2009 to open Bistrot Bruno Loubet at the Zetter hotel. His latest opening is the Grain Store in June 2013. Mange Tout: Bistro Cooking With a Modern Twist is his first book since 1995. Inspired by his upbringing and travels, it places emphasis on the lighter style of classic French bistro, with a nod to health and Asian influences.

‘Pork belly has been a very popular item on menus in the last few years but sadly I don’t think people are cooking it at home very much. What a shame that is, as it is such a tasty cut of meat. It’s important to choose a piece with a good ratio of meat to fat – in percentage terms about 70:30. The Chinese-inspired pickled cabbage is so easy to do and adds a fantastic finishing touch to the dish.’

Serves 6

1.5kg pork belly
200ml white wine
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 star anise
30g fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into very fine strips
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 orange, cut into quarters
1 lemon, cut into quarters
80ml vegetable oil
salt and black pepper

Pickled cabbage
750g Chinese cabbage, cut into 2cm dice, washed and patted dry
3 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
60ml peanut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 red chillies, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
30g fresh root ginger, chopped
1 tbsp Szechuan pepper
1 tsp English mustard
100ml brown rice vinegar
coriander leaves, to garnish

Start by making the pickled cabbage. Place the cabbage in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and sugar and mix well with your hands, squeezing the cabbage for two minutes (this bruises it and helps get the salt into it), then leave at room temperature for 2 hours, repeating the squeezing every 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 240°C/fan 220°C/ Gas 9. In a wok, heat the peanut oil, then add the onions, chilli, garlic, ginger, Szechuan pepper and mustard. Stir-fry over a high heat for 10 seconds then lower the heat to medium and cook for 2–3 minutes to soften the ingredients. Meanwhile drain the cabbage and squeeze out any excess liquid. Add the cabbage to the wok, stir and remove from the heat. Add the brown rice vinegar. Pour all the ingredients into a glass or china dish and cover with cling film.

For the pork, place the white wine, soy sauce, star anise, ginger, mustard, orange and lemon quarters in a pan and bring to a simmer, then cook for 2 minutes.

Place the belly in a roasting tin. Pour the mixture over then rub it all over the flesh but not the skin. Season with salt and pepper then pour the vegetable oil all over the meat. Arrange the fruit quarters under the belly and place it skin-side up. Cook for about 20 minutes, keeping an eye on the level of the liquid to make sure it does not evaporate too much – there should always be a minimum of 2mm in the bottom. If needed, add a bit of water, then lower the oven setting to 170°C/fan 150°C/ Gas 3½ and leave to cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove the meat from the oven and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, then cut into six pieces. Place a piece of belly on each plate with a mound of pickled cabbage on the side. Finish with some fresh coriander.

Panda utensils; Panda storage pot; Panda square chopping board; Taishi dip dish; medium Gallie jar; Yoshimi runner; Madras tea towel; Acacia mill; Rex plate; Gala napkin; Tubie tumbler; Yipsilon clear carafe; background painted Rose matt emulsion

Mange Tout: Bistro Cooking with a Modern Twist by Bruno Loubet (Ebury Press, £25).

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