Slow Cooked Pork Belly in Ampleforth Abbey Cider with Cauliflower Puree

Main courseServes 4

For a seriously comforting winter warmer this slow cooked pork belly using locally produced Ampleforth Abby cider is an indulgent treat to stave of the January chill.  



750 grams of pork belly (ask your butcher to score the skin)

1 bulb of fennel

1 white onion

2-3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

1 500ml bottle of Ampleforth Abbey Traditional Still Cider

200ml of good quality organic chicken or pork stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cauliflower Puree,

1 medium sized head of cauliflower

200mls of skim milk

Quarter of a nutmeg

Salt and Pepper


  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C and place a metal tray (just a little bigger then the pork) on the stove on a low to medium heat with a good lug of oil.
  1. Roughly chop the fennel and onion and place in the tray, sauté for five to ten minutes until soft and caramelised.
  1. Whilst the vegetables are sautéing dry the pork skin with a paper towel then rub the skin of the pork belly generously with salt this will help the skin to become nice and crackled.
  1. When the vegetables are soft and translucent add the bay leaves and the fennel seeds to the tray, then place the pork skin side up in the tray on top of the vegetables. Turn the heat up to high and pour in the cider and the stock add enough water so the liquid sits just below the skin of the pork.
  1. Bring to the boil and then place in the oven – the pork should take about 2½ - 3 hours, check on the pork after 2 hours to make sure the tray hasn’t become dry if it has add a little more water.
  1. When the pork has about 30minutes left, chop the cauliflower into small chunks and place in a pot with 100mls of the milk and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for 15mins or until the cauliflower is very tender – the milk may split but this is fine, it will all come together. Add the rest of the milk along with the nutmeg and blitz in a blender until smooth and adding more milk if it look a little thick. Season to taste.
  1. Once the pork is done remove from the tray and place on a board top rest. Return the tray to the stove top on a high heat and reduce the sauce until thick, season if needed. Sieve the sauce and discard the vegetables.
  1. Placing the pork skin side down for ease, cut into four even squares and serve with the puree and seasonal vegetables.