Combining meat with fruit can produce wonderful results. Forget ham-fisted attempts at duck a l’orange and think smoked chicken with cherries, slow roast brisket with watermelon or lamb with red currents. There are so many options.
I first encountered (what I later discovered was a French classic) pork with peaches at a B&B with dinner included on the banks of the Dordogne whilst travelling back from Spain with my in laws.
Back then we enjoyed simple pan roasted slices of pork loin which here I have replaced with slow cooked belly from Sutcliffes, roasted with aromatic celery, bay, lemon and oregano.
I’ve paired it with fantastic Cornish new potatoes from The Orange Grove and some of our first spinach from the yard. This year we’ve grown ‘Komatsuna’ which seems to like the wet Saltaire climate. It’s at its best wilted in miso soup or spicy ramen but also works well braised in butter and garlic.
PORK AND PEACHES (serves 4)
- 1 kg pork belly (thinner end), fat scored
- small bunch fresh oregano
- zest 1 lemon
- 3 thick stalks celery
- 6 cloves garlic, bashed
- sea salt
- 1 glass white wine
- 4 doughnut peaches
- extra virgin olive oil
- Using a pestle and mortar or the side of a knife, blend the oregano, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil to a paste. Coat the underside of your belly joint and rub in well. Leave to marinate for several hours.
- Pre heat the oven to 240°c. Roughly chop the celery and add to an oven proof dish that will snugly hold your pork joint along with the garlic. Lightly oil the pork and rub the scored skin with 2 tspn salt. Lay on top of the celery and place in the oven for 45 minutes until the skin has puffed into bubbly crackling.
- Lover the oven temp to 160°c. Remove the pork dish and add the wine, topping up with water until it reaches 1/3 up the side of the pork. Return the dish to the oven and cook for a further 3 hours. Keep the water topped up throughout and then rest under loosely tented foil for a further hour.
- Meanwhile, pre heat a griddle pan and slice the peaches width-ways, brushing each cut side with a little pork fat and salt. Once the pan is hot, griddle until you have strong sear marks before flipping and repeating. Keep warm.
- Strain the veg from the pork dish and skim the fat. Reduce well, scraping bits from the bottom and seasoning to taste with sherry vinegar, added stock, salt and pepper.
- Serve with your chosen accompaniments.