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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Ep 20 - Roast rack and crisp pork belly

Roast rack and crisp confit belly of suckling pig with aromatic roast Marron tail, figs, fennel and ginger puree, quatre epice jus

By Justin North          
Suckling Pig
1 x 10-12kg suckling pig
pork belly
1 cinnamon quill
4 cloves garlic
8 sprigs thyme
2 sprig rosemary  
1 bay leaf   
3 star anise
8 peppercorns
12 coriander seeds
200g wet salt
2L duck fat
200g boneless pork belly

Roast Marron Tail
50ml grape seed oil
1 x 400g marron tails
4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
2 tbs sea salt

Fennel and ginger puree
50ml grape seed oil
50g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely sliced
1 knob ginger, sliced
2 heads fennel, chopped
100ml white wine
15ml pernod
100ml chicken stock
50ml thickened cream

For the jus
40ml grape seed
40g unsalted butter
2 eschalots, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 knob ginger, finely sliced
1 tsp clear honey
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
100ml white wine
400ml veal jus

to garnish
1 purple fig
baby cress

1. Preheat an oven to 110 degrees C for the pork belly and another to 190 degrees C for the rack and marron.
2. For the suckling pig, start at the leg-end first, between the rump and the start of the loin. At the top of the spine, run a knife through until you reach the undercarriage.
3. Turn the pork over and repeat process on the other side, starting from the same point (between the rump and the loin). Disconnect the spine and remove the rump and legs in 1 whole piece.
4. Remove the head of the piglet by cutting straight through the neck and discard.
5. Between the shoulder and the loin (at the spine), run your knife right through to the undercarriage. Flip the pork over and repeat process on the other side. Cut through the spine and remove both shoulders in one piece.
6. Take your knife and place it between the loin and the spine and cut straight through to remove one half of the loin. Repeat process on the other side. Take one side of the loin and place onto chopping board skin-side down. Remove 200g piece of the belly and set aside for salting. Cut out a 4-5 bone rack. French and clean the bones of the rack. Secure the rack with string.
7. For the pork belly, pound the cinnamon, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, star anise, peppercorns and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle until crushed and aromatic. Rub through the salt. Massage the aromatic salt into the pork belly.
8. Heat the duck fat in large saucepan to 90 degrees C. Submerge the pork belly into the hot duck fat. Cover with a cartouche, place into the oven at 110 degrees C and cook for 60 minutes until soft.
9. For the fennel and ginger puree, heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and butter and allow to foam without colouring. Sweat down the onion, ginger and fennel without any colour for 10-15 minutes until soft, sweet and translucent. Add the white wine and reduce until syrupy. Add the Pernod and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until completely broken down and softened. Add the cream and bring it back to the boil and season with salt. Puree in a blender and emulsify until velvety smooth. Pass through a fine chinois.
10. For the jus, heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and butter and allow to foam without colouring. Add the eschalots, garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes until light golden. Add the honey, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and spice and cook for a minute. Add the wine and reduce until syrupy, then add the veal jus. Bring to a simmer, cooking gently until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Strain through a fine sieve.
11. To finish the pork belly, remove from the oven. Gently place a heavy-weighted baking tray on top of the belly to press and weigh down. Place in a freezer until cool and set. Cut into rectangular pieces. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and caramelise the pork belly, skin-side down until crisp and golden.
12. To roast the rack, heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Gently caramelise the rack to start the crackling process. Place in the oven at 190 degrees C roast for 6 minutes, and rest for 3 minutes. Carve into cutlets.
13. For the roast marron tail, tie a spoon to the tail to keep it straight through the roasting process. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Add the marron tails and caramelise for 1 minute each side. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, thyme and salt. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest for 2 minutes. Cut away the shell and carve the marron tails into medallions.
14. To serve, spoon a few pools of hot fennel and ginger puree onto a plate. Arrange the caramelised pork belly, carved cutlets of the rack and a few medallions of the marron tail. Add the sliced figs, drizzle with the jus and finish with the baby cress.