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Something really quite exciting happened to me the other day. I was approached by my Friends Australian Pork to collaborate with not just them, but Australia’s Number 1 Organic Coffee Company, Republica Organic to produce a recipe incorporating these two outstanding ingredients. Quite the challenge! Luckily for me, I love a good challenge and particularly when I get to live and breathe two of my favourite things, coffee and pork. This also gave me the opportunity to think of a potential Christmas dish and with the Festive Season upon us, there is no shortage of gatherings where I could woo my guests with a cracking pork dish with a difference.
So, it started. The 4am mind racing, my Husband asking what the hell I was doing sitting up in bed at that time researching on my phone, the constant chit chat about how I was going to do this and what did he think of that? With my Em’s Food Brain set to explode I came up with something quite inspiring, I think. My mind kept leaning towards the Caribbean. Think Summer, swaying palms, Mojito’s, coconuts, Bob Marley in the background and the heady scent of coffee and roasting pork. I was completely transported and new that I had found the perfect food marriage.
Coffee Spiced Pork Belly with Grilled Pineapple Salsa. Accompanying this, a creamy side of Coconut Rice & Black Beans and a fresh topping of Spring Onion & Toasted Coconut Flakes. This dish was an amazing journey of textures and flavours however for me, the absolute highlight was the coffee rubbed pork crackling, that was sweet, tangy, bitter, salty and so, so crispy. Perfection!
To achieve the ultimate crispy pork crackling, which is exactly what you want at this festive time of year, this recipe requires quite a few steps. The good news is that these steps take very little time, even though it seems like a lengthy process you can just go about your day in between. Just remember, you simply cannot rush perfection!
Prep time: 1 Hour
Cooking time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
$$ Medium Budget
For the Coffee Spice Rubbed Pork:
1kg of Australian Pork Belly (hit the link for loads of handy tips and recipes on all things pork)
Coconut oil for drizzling (vegetable or olive is fine too)
1 tbs of Sea Salt
2 spring onions, finely julienned and placed in ice cold water, for garnish
Lime halves to serve
For the Coffee Rub:
NOTE: This will make about 1.5 cups of rub that can be stored in a jar in the pantry for use with all other things pork. Perfect on Ribs, Shoulder or Loin
1/2 cup of toasted coconut flakes, for garnish
1/4 cup of Republica Organic Timor Ground Coffee Blend
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 Tbs of paprika
2 Tsp each of Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Sea Salt and Ground Ginger
1 Tsp of Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp of allspice
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Place all of the ingredients in a jar and give a really good shake, making sure there are no lumps of brown sugar.
For the Pineapple Salsa:
1 Small pineapple, skin removed and sliced into 1cm thick rounds
1/2 a red onion, finely sliced top to bottom
1 long green chilli, seeds removed and very finely diced
1/2 a cup of mint leaves, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt & cracked black pepper
For the Coconut Rice & Beans:
1 cup of basmati rice
1 small brown onion, finely diced
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of coconut milk
400gm tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
Sea salt & cracked pepper
To prepare the Coffee Spiced Pork Belly, pat the pork dry with paper towel. Using a sharp knife or stanley knife, grab a baking tray or metal ruler and use the edge to score the pork at 1cm intervals for a nice neat finish. Place the pork on a rack in the sink and pour over 1-2 cups of boiling water. This will allow the skin to seperate so that when you put the coffee rub on it will get between the skin as well. Pat the pork dry with paper towel again and place it in a lined baking tray. Sprinkle over the sea salt and place the pork in the fridge, uncovered for four hours. The salt will help to draw any moisture out of the skin for the ultimate crispy crackling.
Pre heat the oven to 240°C. Remove the pork from the fridge and again, pat it dry with paper towel. Place it on a rack in a baking tray and drizzle over a little coconut oil. Rub the oil into the skin and then sprinkle over two heaped tablespoons of the coffee rub. Use your hands to massage the rub into the pork, in between the score lines and underneath as well until the pork is coated all over. Pour in two cups of water, taking care to not wet the pork and place the pork in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes reduce the heat to 180°C for a further 1.5 hours, making sure there is always water in the base of the pan to keep the pork flesh nice and moist.
To make my crackling super crispy, I like to place the pan on the lowest shelf of the oven and put the oven on Fan Grill for approximately 5 minutes. You really need to keep a good eye on it at this point as the sugar in the rub can burn. The pork skin will look blackened anyway, from the coffee and sugar in the rub but don’t be alarmed at the colour. What you don’t want is charred, it will make the rub taste bitter. Once the skin is blistered and hard when tapped with a knife (it should only take a few minutes), remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for a good 15 minutes, loosely covered in foil.
While the pork is cooking, prepare your salsa. Cook the pineapple rounds on a hot BBQ or griddle pan until lightly charred. Wait until it has cooled (you could even pop it in the fridge for half an hour), cut the pine apple into small cubes. Mix it with the red onion, chilli and chopped mint. Season and dress with fresh lime just before serving.
To prepare the coconut rice, place a little oil in the base of a medium sized saucepan. Fry the onion until translucent and then add the rice, stirring to coat the grains before pouring in the water and coconut milk. Stir to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, pop a lid on and reduce the heat to medium and cook for 12 minutes with the lid on. After 12 minutes, turn the heat off and allow the rice to steam with the lid on for five minutes before adding the drained black beans. Stir the beans through the rice with a fork and place on a low heat to warm through. Season with sea salt and pepper just before serving.
To plate the dish, use a sharp knife to cut the pork into cubes. I find using the heel of my hand on the back of the knife and pushing down will give you nice neat cuts and not jagged edges. Spoon the coconut rice into a ramekin and invert onto your serving plates. Place the pork belly on the plate (2-3 cubes per person) and spoon the pineapple salsa around the rice. Garnish with spring onion and toasted coconut flakes and serve.
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Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.