Twice cooked pork belly (with gravy) roast parsnips and sweet apple red cabbage

You've heard this one before I can hear you groan! Yes, pork belly has been done to death. But in my opinion it's a fantastic, if not better, alternative to the usual Sunday roast and at £3.99 per kg it can't be ignored - it's the perfect comfort food to comfort us during recession. The twice cooking method does take some time (overnight) and it will need attention but the results are truly amazing.


  • 1.2kg of Tesco belly pork (£4.79 - £3.99 per kg)
  • 1 large red onion (21p)
  • 2 Cox apples (48p)
  • 1 medium red cabbage (50p)
  • 700g of parsnips (79p)

The cupboard staples...

Salt, black pepper, olive oil, brown sugar, peppercorns, butter, flour and bay leaves.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco, where it came to £6.75 - that's £1.35 per head!


  • You will need a pan large enough to take the belly pork in one single layer and so the water covers the pork. Fill the pan with cold water, a few peppercorns and three bay leaves - you will need to weight the pork down so it stays submerged. Bring up to the simmer and remove the impurities that rise to the top, simmer for around 2 hours (remembering to keep topping up the water!). When the pork is ready it will take a knife through the thickest part with very little resistance. Do not throw away the liquid as we'll use the lovely stock created to make gravy.
  • Once the pork is cooked remove from the pan and let it cool right down. Once cooled wrap in cling film and place a dish and a good weight on top of the pork and place in the fridge overnight. I find a good heavy stone mortar works perfectly; if you don't have one then six cans of beans will work just fine!
  • When you're ready to start cooking the next day get the pork out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it so it gets up to room temperature.
  • For the gravy take the stock you saved from yesterday and remove any fat that has formed. Place in a saucepan and bring up to the boil. Once up to the boil season and bring down to a simmer. There are many ways to thicken sauces and I prefer a method called beurre manie for this gravy - to make it incorporate one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of flour in a bowl to make a smooth paste. Now add to the stock whisking all the time and it will thicken the stock nicely (make sure you simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes to cook the flour out a little). Add a drop of red wine if you have that as well.
  • For the accompanying roast parsnip dish, you will need to par boil the parsnips and then roast for 25 minutes at 220C. The parsnips will need seasoning and a good glug of olive oil before roasting. The parsnips can go in the oven at the same time as the pork belly (see below).
  • For the sweet apple red cabbage dish, peel and core the apples and finely slice. Also finely slice the red onion and half of the red cabbage. Now get a saucepan on a medium heat with some olive oil and add the apples and onions - sauté for 3 minutes before adding the finely sliced red cabbage. Season and add a good pinch of brown sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes until the cabbage softens a little.
  • The pork belly just needs seasoning with salt and black pepper, then place on a wire rack and cook at 220C for 25 minutes. I find it easier to cut the pork belly into portions before placing in the oven. Once out the oven you will have a lovely crisp crackling and the meat will be very tender inside.
  • Serve with the gravy and accompanying dishes - happy eating!


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