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Recipe: Roast Belly of Pork with Apple Sauce

Ingredients

The thick end of the belly (last 6 ribs)
Fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For The Apple Sauce

3-4 large Bramley apples
A squeeze of lemon juice
Grated zest (no pith) and juice of 1 orange
1-2 tablespoons caster sugar (to taste)

Instructions

Score the skin of the belly with a sharp knife (a Stanley knife is surprisingly handy) and rub with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves, getting the seasoning and herbs right into the cracks. Roast in a hot oven (220C/Gas 7) for 30 minutes then turn the oven down to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for roughly another hour until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a skewer and the crackling has crackled to an irrestible golden brown. If the crackling is reluctant whack up the heat again, as high as you like, and check every few minutes till it's done.

To make the sauce, peel, core and slice the Bramleys, tossing them with the lemon juice as you go. Put them in a pan with the orange zest and juice and a first sprinkling of sugar. Cook gently until the apples break up into a rough puree, then check for sweetness and adjust to your taste. Keep warm (or reheat gently to serve).

Remove the crackling from the pork before carving, then cut the joint into thick slices. Serve each person one or two slices with a good piece of crackling and bring the apple sauce to the table.

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