I blame my friend Karen. She sent me the link in the first place, and it was that link that had me thinking about pork belly so much that I couldn't get it out of my head.
You ever have those times when you read a recipe, or hear about a dish, and you know that until you give in and make it, all you’re going to be doing is thinking about making it? Truly, it’s better just to get on and make it or your brain will nag you.
This is the culprit. Guardian, I hold you responsible for this too you know. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/may/09/sam-sam-clark-chicharrones-de-cadiz-recipe-pork
I failed to buy a piece of pork belly last time I was at the butcher's, but I resolved to find pork belly strips and go ahead and adapt it anyway. I chose to do this on a day when I was working from home, as it does require time. My husband loves crackling, but not pork fat, so it makes sense to cook this kind of thing just for me.
My adaptation of the above recipe. You go with what you’ve got, right?
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
2 x 400g packages of pork belly strips (there were 4 strips per pack)
2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tsp cumin powder
Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan. They will darken and release their aroma.
Add in the two garlic cloves and toast them briefly to intensify their flavour. (It was at this point I discovered that the garlic I had was old and sad, which is why I threw the two cloves into the pan with the fennel seeds)
When the garlic picks up a little colour, put the seeds and garlic into a pestle and mortar along with the 2 tsp sea salt.
Pound well until everything is mixed, and all the seeds crushed down.
Rub this mixture all over the pork. I added a touch of olive oil to get it to adhere to the meat better.
Let it sit for half an hour, then lay the strips in a roasting tin.
Bake on 300F/150C/Gas 2 for a couple of hours, turning once. You want the fat to render, but not disappear.
When the slices have turned dark golden on both sides, take them out and let them cool enough to cut into chunks.
Cook them in a dry frying pan until the edges and any fat starts to crisp, then mix with ground cumin and take off the heat.
Serve with a generous squeeze of lemon juice all over and a little sprinkle of sea salt.
These make incredibly moreish snacks.
PS: do not throw the fat and excess seeds/cumin away from the roasting pan. It makes amazing potato wedges the next day.