This signature braised pork belly open sandwich comes courtesy of Latitude 33 in trendy Bree Street, Cape Town.
“This dish was developed as a way to produce a delicious meal for entertaining with all the work done a day or two in advance, meaning as little stress as possible at the time of serving. We serve it as a sandwich at Latitude 33, although it has been used very successfully as the main element on a dinner menu (and even more successfully as a tray of sticky and succulent pork on a Christmas table).” – Gareth Walford, owner of Latitude 33
Signature braised pork belly open sandwich
- 600g mixed stir-fry vegetables
- 50g ginger and garlic mix, finely chopped
- olive oil, to stir-fry
- 6 slices fresh wholewheat bread
- 100g rocket
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 20g fresh coriander
- deep-fried gnocchi, to serve
- garlic and herb aïoli, to serve
- 1 (about 1,5kg) pork belly, bone in and skin on
- 100g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
- 15ml (1 tbsp) Chinese five spice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 6 black peppercorns
- 250ml (1 cup) Indonesian sweet soya sauce
- 250ml (1 cup) oyster sauce
- chicken/pork stock/water, to cover (be careful of the saltiness of stock cubes if this is what you choose to use)
- 1kg pork bones (optional)
- 1 sheet scored, salted pork skin (roughly 10cm square per person)
Preheat the oven to 110°C.
For the braised pork, place the pork belly, flat, in an oven tray deep enough to be able to submerge the meat. Place all of the prepared vegetables, the spices and the sauces around the pork. Cover the meat completely with stock or warm water. Place a sheet of baking paper directly on top of the meat, then tightly cover the tray with foil. Place in the oven and slow-cook, 7 hours.
Once cooked, remove from oven, uncover and allow to cool slightly. Place the tray in the fridge and allow to cool completely in the liquid. Once cooled slightly, remove the bones (keep these aside for the reduction). This can be done a day or 2 in advance and the pork kept, covered, in the fridge.
On the day you are going to serve the braised pork, preheat the oven to 180°C. Thicken the sauce to give it as full flavour as possible. Begin by roasting the extra pork bones in the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes, depending on the moisture content. Once done, remove from oven but leave the oven on.
Remove the cooled pork from the liquid and place back in the fridge in a separate container.
Add the roasted bones to a large pot and pour the braising liquid over the bones. Place over low heat and reduce until the sauce has thickened. (If you don’t have extra bones, simply place the cooking liquid in the pot and reduce until thickened.) Strain the sauce through as fine a sieve as possible.
Roast the scored and salted pork skin in the oven to make a crackling. This should take about 1 hour, depending on the sheet of skin. Remove from oven but leave the oven on.
Cut the pork into roughly 1cm slices and lay out in an oven dish. Pour the strained sauce reduction over the meat liberally (reserve the rest, to serve). Tightly seal the container with foil and place in the oven until heated through, 20 – 30 minutes.
While the pork is heating, stir-fry the vegetables, ginger and garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat, making sure they aren’t overcooked.
Toast the wholewheat bread slices. Layer some rocket and slices of tomato on the toast. Spoon over some of the stir-fried vegetables. Lay some slices of hot pork on top of the vegetables. Finish with a drizzle of the sauce reduction. Top with pieces of crackling and fresh coriander. Serve with a bowl of crispy gnocchi and aioli for dipping, or any side of your choice.