Monday, 1 October 2007

Queen of the Quince - a dish inpired by Hannah, Roasted Pork Belly and Quince with a Bay & Cider Sauce

I'm so excited that Hannah has now returned from her well earned break in Bali. I've really missed our daily chats and between us we have been travelling quite a bit (I have just returned from two weeks in Paris - more posts to follow on that one!), so it's nice to know she's back in town. This is a dish that is signature Hannah, particularly the Quince which I know are one of her favourite fruits.
During the semis and finals of Masterchef, Hannah took to dispensing her homemade Quince Brandy to help us steady our nerves - since then, whenever I think of Quince (and Lavender and Violet too) or smell it, I always think of her.
So, if I could cook her a welcome home supper, this would be it.
(My original thought was to make this dish with shoulder of pork, as belly is an aquired taste and must be cooked slowly to properly melt down the layer of fat. Also this works beautifully with Pheasant, which I would casserole in delicious juices in a low oven).

Ingredients for 4:
1kg of Shoulder of Pork (or Belly)
3/4 Quince
300 ml Cox's Cider
Small bunch of Lemon Thyme
4 fresh Bay leaves
8 Shallots
1 tablespoon of Honey (I used Orange Flower)
3/4 heads of Cabbage greens
In a deep roasting pan, add the shallots that have been skinned and halved. Scatter the bay leaves and Lemon Thyme, a feel peelings of Orange zest, a few black peppercorns, Season the meat well on the underside and lay the top. Pour over the cider, add a scant drizzle of olive oil and cover the whole pan tightly with foil. Place in a medium/low oven 180/200 C and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is tender and the fat has rendered. Peel and core the Quince and poach in water infused with a stick of cinnamon for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Undo the foil and place the Quince in with the Pork, so that they soak up lots of the juices. Return the oven and cook on a higher heat for a further 20 minutes, so that the skin starts to crisp and the quince caramalise. Remove most of the cooking liquor and reduce in a pan to make the sauce. Season and add a knob of butter to finish. Drizzle the honey over the Pork and Quince and roast for a further five minutes. Blanch some Cabbage greens for 3/4 minutes in vegetable stock (a teaspoon of Marigold bouillon in the cooking water), drain and plate up. Cut the pork into thick slices and pile over the greens with the Quince and Shallots. Drizzle the sauce and serve.

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