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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

EP 59 Brenton Owens Pork and Apples

MasterChef Australia on TV ONE and TVNZ OnDemand

Serves 6 

500 ml beef stock

600 ml apple juice

375 ml Guiness beer

1 teaspoon vegemite

1 head garlic, one clove crushed and reserved

3 apples, 2 halved and 1 peeled and cut into 1x1 cm cubes

2 onions, quartered

1 kg gram pork belly, skin scored

160 ml apple cider vinegar

4 grams agar agar powder

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup popcorn

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 shallots, 3 peeled and cut in half, 1 peeled and roughly chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1 celeriac, peeled and grated

125 ml vegetable stock

pepper berries, crushed, for garnish

fennel seeds, for garnish

nasturtium flowers, for garnish

chive flowers, for garnish

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Place beef stock, 500 ml apple juice, Guiness and vegemite in a deep roasting pan. Add garlic, halved apples and onions. Rub pork skin with salt and lay belly on top of apples and onions. Place in the oven to roast until cooked through, about 2 ½ hours.  Change oven to grill setting and grill pork for a few minutes until pork skin is crisp. Remove from oven, reserve pan juices, and set pork aside, covered, to rest.
  3. Meanwhile, place 100 ml cider vinegar and remaining 100 ml apple juice in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, add agar agar and whisk to combine. Remove from heat and pour into a flat tray. Set aside in the fridge until set.
  4. Remove set gel from the fridge and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth, place in a piping bag and set aside in the fridge.
  5. To make the pickle, place remaining 60 ml cider vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and set over medium heat to boil. Place peeled,  diced apple in a bowl. Pour boiling liquid over the apple and set aside to pickle.
  6. Place popcorn into a saucepan with 1 tablespoon oil. Set over medium heat, covered until kernels just begin to pop, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, discard popped popcorn.
  7. Place unpopped kernels in a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon salt and process to a powder. Pass through a sieve to discard any remaining kernels. Set aside.
  8. Place 1 tablespoon oil in a frypan and set over medium heat. Add shallot halves, cut side down for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons butter, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Add roughly chopped shallot and reserved garlic clove and cook until translucent. Add celeriac and vegetable stock and cook, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Process to a smooth puree, season and set aside, keeping warm.
  10. Place reserved pan juices in a saucepan and set over high heat. Allow to boil until thick and reduced.
  11. To serve, spread some celeriac puree on each serving plate. Slice rested pork and place a slice on top of puree. Add a shallot half and some pickled apple and pipe on some gel. Sprinkle with popcorn powder and garnish with pepper berries, fennel seeds, nasturtium and chive flowers. Season, to taste.