We look forward to the foire de porc, which happens usually in the autumn, after Christmas and in the spring. It’s a throwback to the tradition of killing and preserving the household pig ready for winter, and nice to see it still going, even in the big supermarket chains.
Most pork is already cheap, but belly pork is sold in small pieces to enrich soup and cassolet and can be quite pricy and spare ribs, used for much the same purpose even more so. So now’s the time to do it!
A trip to Lerclerc yielded three whole bellies of pork complete with ribs at €1.75 a kilo. Each whole “poitrine” can be cut into 7 or 8 large roasts, (with crackling! Very rare around here, they like their skin and fat pretty soggy!) then some little pieces useful for casseroles etc., and most importantly for my son the spare ribs to barbeque. Also plenty of fat to rend down, great for roast potatoes, and the hearty local soups and casseroles, where plenty of fat is essential to keep out the winter cold!
All in all great value and keeps me busy for an afternoon: cutting, boning and rending!
The problem was that there was then so much pork jammed into the freezer, that the temperature rose and everything else already in it defrosted. Not looking such a bargain now!
Anyway, onwards and upwards to the cooking bit. We do a lot of different dishes with these belly of pork joints, one of the favourites is Chinese style.
Score the skin of the pork into slices. Rub the skin with salt. Rub the underneath with; salt, a little sugar, 5 spice. Cook in a very slow oven grill over, but not touching a pan of water, for about three or four hours. When ready to serve, get the grill VERY hot and grill the skin till it’s crispy. Simples!